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Full text of "The complete ascetical works of St. Alphonsus"

EVition. 



THE COMPLETE ASCETICAL WOKKS 

OF 

ST ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI. 



24 vols., Price, per vol., ne/, $1.26. 

Each book ig complete in itself, and any volume 
gold separately, 



be 



Volume I. 

II. 

" III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 



IX. 
X., 

" XII. 
XIII. 



XVI. 
" XVII. 



" XVIII. 
V XXII. 

" XXIII. 



PREPARATION FOR DEATH ; or, Considerations on the Eter 
nal Truths. Maxims of Eternity - Rule of Life. 

WAY OF SALVATION AND OF PERFECTION : Meditations. 
Pious Reflections. Spiritual Treatises. 

GREAT MEANS OF SALVATION AND OF PERFECTION : 
Prayer. Mental Prayer. The Exercises of a Retreat. 
Choice of a State of Life, and the Vocation to the 
Religious State and to the Priesthood. 

THE INCARNATION, BIRTH AND INFANCY OF JESUS 
CHRIST ; or, The Mysteries of Faith. 

THE PASSIO.N AND THE DEATH of JESUS CHRIST. 

THE HOLY EUCHARIST. The Sacrifice, the Sacrament, 
and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. Practice of Love 
of Jesus Christ. Novena to the Holy Ghost. 

VIII. GLORIES OF MARY: i. Explanation of the Salve 
Regina, or Hail, Holy Queen. Discourses on the Feasts 
of Mary. 2. Her Dolors. Her Virtues. Practices. 
Examples. Answers to Critics. Devotion to the Holy 
Angels. Devotion to St. Joseph. Novena to St. Teresa. 
Novena for the Repose of the Souls in Purgatory. 

VICTORIES OF THE MARTYRS ; or, the Lives of the Most 
Celebrated Martyrs of the Church. 

XL THE TRUE SPOUSE OF JESUS CHRIST : i. The first 
sixteen Chapters. 2. The last eight Chapters. Appendix 
and various small Works. Spiritual Letters. 

DIGNITY AND DUTIES OF THE PRIEST ; or, SELVA, a 
collection of Material for Ecclesiastical Retreats. Rule 
of Life and Spiritual Rules. 

THE HOLY MASS : Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Ceremonies 
of the Mass. Preparation and Thanksgiving. The Mass 
and the Office that are hurriedly said. 

THE DIVINE OFFICE : Explanation of the Psalms and 
Canticles. 

PREACHING : The Exercises 
Counsels. Instructions or 
Sacraments. 

SERMONS FOR SUNDAYS. 

MISCELLANY. Historical Sketch of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. Rules and Constitutions of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Instructions 
about the Religious State. Lives of two Fathers and of a 
Lay Brother, C.SS. R. Discourses on Calamities. Re 
flections useful for Bishops. Rules for Seminaries. 

XIX., XX., XXI. LETTERS. 

LETTERS AND GENERAL ALPHABETICAL INDEX. 

XXIV. LIFE OF ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI. 



of the Missions. Various 
the Commandments and 



Benziger Brothers, New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago. 




THE COMPLETE WORKS 



OF 



SAINT ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI, 

DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, 

Bishop of Saint Agatha, and Founder of the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Redeemer. 

TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN. 

EDITED BY 

KE^T. IE TJ a- IE INT IE a- IR i IM: IMI, 

Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 



THE ASCETICAL WORKS. 
Volume XVIII. 

LETTERS. 

Volume I. 

PART I. 

General (Correspondence. 



THE APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION. 



RNDE PATER: 

Memoriam gloriosi Congregation is SS. Redemptoris Fundatoris, centesimo, 
Ab ejus obitu, adventante anno, pio et admodum opportuno consilio recolere 
aggressus es, dum omnia ipsius opera anglice vertenda, et typis edenda curasti. 
Summus itaque Pontifex, cui turn S. Doctoris exaltatio, turn fidelium utilitas 
summopere cordi est libentissime excepit 9 volumina hue usque edita, quse Ei 
offerre voluisti. Ac dum meritas Tibi laudes de hac perutili tua cura prsebet, 
et gratias de filiali oblatione agit, Benedictionem, quam tuis obsequentissimis 
litteris petiisti, Emi quoque archiepiscopi Baltimorensis commendation! 
obsecundans, ex intimo corde impertiit. 

Haec ad Te deferens fausta cuncta ac felicia a Domino Tibi adprecor. 
Paternitatis Tuae, 

Addictissimus, 

M. CARD. RAMPOLLA. 
ROMAE, die 4 Junii, 1888. 



TRANSLATION. 

REVEREND FATHER: 

As the centenary of the death of the illustrious Founder of the Congrega 
tion of the Most Holy Redeemer drew near, you conceived the pious and 
appropriate plan of shedding a new lustre on his memory by translating all 
his works into English and publishing them. The Holy Father, therefore, 
who has at heart the spiritual advancement of the faithful, as well as thi 
exaltation of the holy Doctor, has most graciously accepted the nine volumes 
thus far published, which you wished to present to him. While bestowing 
upon you well-deserved praise for your useful labor, and thanking you for 
the gift inspired by your filial love, he gives you from his heart the blessing 
which you humbly asked for in your letter, complying also with the request 
of the Most Rev. Archbishop of Baltimore. 

As th-- bearer of this, I wish you all happiness in the Lord. 
I am, Reverend Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

M. CARD. RAMPOLLA. 

ROME, June 4. 1888. 



LETTERS OF ST. ALPHONSUS 
MARIA DE LIGUORI, 

DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, 

Bishop of Saint Agatha, and Founder of the Congregation 
of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN. 

EDITED BY 

REV. EUGENE GRIMM, 

Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
PART I. 

(Senerai Correspondence. 
Volume I. 





NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, CHICAGO. 

EIR, IBIROTIHIIEIRS, 

Printers to the Holy Apostolic See. 



R. WASHBOURNE, 
18 PATERNOSTER Row, LONDON. 



M. H. GILL & SON, 
50 UPPER O CoNNELL STREET, DUBLIN. 
1891. 



APPROBATION. 

By virtue of the authority granted me by the Most Rev. Nicholas 
Mauron, Superior-General of the Congregation of the Most Holy 
Redeemer, I hereby sanction the publication of the work entitled 
" Letters," which is Vol. XVIII. of the new and complete edition in 
English of the works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, called " The 
Centenary Edition." 

FERDINAND A. LITZ, 

Sup. Prov. Baltimorensis. 

BALTIMORE, MD., August 5, 1890. 




Copyright, 1891, by Ferdinand A. Litz. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGK 

APPROBATION, iv 

FAC-SIMILE OF A LETTER OF ST. ALPHONSUS, . . xxxn 

LETTERS OF ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI. 



PART I. 
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE. 



PREFACE OF THE ITALIAN EDITOR, . . . .3 

A. D. 1730. 

LETTER 

1. To MOTHER ANGIOLA DEL CIELO AND TO THE NUNS 

AT SCALA. The saint gives them various counsels 
and recommends to their prayers one of his penitents. 
Naples, October 29, , . .... . 13 

A. D. 1731. 

2. To A COMMUNITY OF NUNS. Books sent. Various 

counsels. Exhortation to love Jesus and Mary, . 22 

A. D. 1732. 

3. To THE BENEDICTINE NUNS OF POLIGNANO. He 

exhorts them to show themselves grateful to the Blessed 
Virgin. [Naples, September 19], ... . -25 

4. To MGR. TOMMASO FALCOIA, BISHOP OF CASTEL- 

LAMMARE. He asks his permission to leave Naples 
to begin at Scala the Institute of the Most Holy 
Saviour. [October], . " . . . . . .27 



vi Contents. 



A. D. 1733. 

5. To THE SAME. He relates to him his troubles and 

conjures him not to abandon him. [Beginning of 
March], . .. 29 

6. To SISTER MARIA CELESTE CROSTAROSA. Sorrow 

which he feels at seeing her so attached to her own 
opinion. Reason of his severity towards her. [Month 
of March], 31 

7. To THE SAME. He explains to her the conditions on 

which the Institute of the Most Holy Saviour can 
prosper, and he reproves her for withdrawing from the 
direction of Mgr. Falcoia. [End of March], . . 35 

8. TO THE NUNS OF THE MONASTERY OF POCARA. 

He informs them of his intended visit, . -49 

9. To THE PRIEST DON GIUSEPPE CERCHIA. He ex 

horts him to leave the world and to consecrate himself 
entirely to God. Scala, July 3, . . . . .50 

10. To THE SAME. The same subject. Scala, July 13, . 51 

11. To THE SAME. He renews his request, briefly re 

peating to him the same reasons. Scala, July 21, .52 

12. To THE SAME. Renewed invitation to repair to Seal a. 

Scala, August n, . -53 

13. To THE SAME. He refutes one of his objections. 

Scala, August 18, . .54 

14. To THE SAME. He invites him to assist him at least 

in the missions as an auxiliary priest. Scala, August 
30, . . .55 

A. D. 1734. 

15. To THE PRIEST DON FRANCESCO DI VIVA. He 

exhorts him to detach himself from all human affection. 

Villa, June 7, ...56 

16. To THE SAME. Great works should rest only on the 

spirit of faith and on confidence in God, Villa, July 

5 57 

17. To FATHER TOMMASO PAGANO, ORATORIAN. Ex 

amination of the question : Is a priest obliged to go 
to preach the Gospel in heathen countries? In which 
case is he bound to do so? [July], . . . .60 



Contents. vn 

LETTER PACK 

18. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA BELLA CROCE. He 

writes out for her a rule of life and exhorts her to give 
herself up entirely to God. Villa,- August 26, . . 62 

19. To THE SAME. Exhortation to fervor. Project of a 

journey to Camigliano. Villa, November 19, . . 65 

A. D. 1735. 

20. To MGR. PIETRO AGOSTINO SCORZA, ARCHBISHOP 

OF AMALFI. Request to determine the time of the 
ecclesiastical retreat. Difficulty as to the foundation 
of a house at Positano. [End of February], . . 66 

21. To MGR. CONSTANTINO VIGILANTE, BISHOP OF CAI- 

AZZO. Petition. [June], . . . . . . 67 

22. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA BELLA CROCE. He 

exhorts her to persevere in prayer. Villa, Decem 
ber 31, 68 

A. D. 1736. 

23. To THE PRIEST FRANCESCO DI VIVA. He invites 

him to come to him. Recale, January 25, . . .69 

24. To MARQUIS GIUSEPPE GIOACCHINO MONTALLEGRE. 

Abridgement of the Rule of the Institute of the 
Most Holy Saviour. [January], . . . . .70 

25. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. Ex 

hortation to practise renunciation. Ciorani, . . 72 

26. To THE SAME. Different counsels of perfection. 

[Villa, February], . ... ... -73 

27. To THE SAME. He asks her prayers for himself and 

the Institute. Exhortation to persevere in prayer. 
Ciorani, April 18, . 75 

28. To THE SAME. Couusels in regard to perfection. 

Ciorani, May 23, .- - .- . . . . -77 

29. To His FATHER DON GIUSEPPE DE LIGUORI. He 

begs him to help on the work of the Venerable Gen- 
naro Sarnelli. Ciorani, July 16, . . . . 79 

30. To THE SAME. He begs him to speak to him no 

more about the episcopate. Ciorani, August 5, . 80 

31. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. He 

marks out a rule of conduct for her interior and exterior 
life. Ciorani, September 26, . . ... .81 



viii Contents. 

LETTER PAGE 

32. To THE SAME. How she should behave under existing 

circumstances. Ciorani, October 26, . . . .84 

A. D. 1737. 

33. To THE SAME. Various counsels. Ciorani, April 4, 85 

34. To THE SAME. He reproaches her for her repugnance 

to suffer. [Middle of April], . . ... 86 

35. To THE SAME. Exhortation to detachment. What 

her conduct should be towards her sister. Ciorani, 
April 22, . .88 

36. To MGR. FALCOIA, His DIRECTOR. Reflections as 

to the abandoning of Villa degli Schiavi. Ciorani, 
July 12, . . . . . . , . .90 

37. To FATHER CESARE SPORTELLI. Ciorani, 

August 7, . . 93 

38. To His FATHER DON GIUSEPPE DE LIGUORI. He 

begs him to treat charitably his son Don Ercole. 
[End of October], . 94 

A. D. 1738. 

39. To FATHER GIULIO MAROCCO. He complains of his 

silence and tells him some news. Ciorani, March 9, 95 

A. D. 1739. 

40. To A PRIEST. It is impossible to give the mission for 

which he asks. Great desire of seeing him enter the 
Institute. Calvanico, April 27, .- . . -97 

41. To FATHER GIULIO MAROCCO. He writes to him to 

prolong his stay at Caiazzo. Ciorani, [June], . . 99 

42. To THE SAME. Expression of hope of soon seeing 

him at Caiazzo. Various recommendations. Ciorani, 
[End of July], ........ 99 

43. To MOST REVEREND CASIMIRO Rossi, ARCHBISHOP 

OF SALERNO. Petition for faculties to exercise the 
apostolic ministry. [Ciorani, December 26], . . 101 

A. D. 1740. 

44. To A NUN AT FISCIANO. He exhorts her never to 

omit Communion, notwithstanding all her temptations. 

Castellammare, January 6, . , IO2 



Contents. ix 

LETTER PAGE 

45. To THE VENERABLE GENNARO SARNELLI. Counsels 

relative to the composition of works of piety. Ciorani, 
April 3, . . . ... . . . .104 

46. To THE FOUNDRESS OF A MONASTERY OF NUNS. - 

Necessity of establishing perfect observance from the 
beginning, especially in regard to poverty. Ciorani, 
July 12, . . .106 

47. To FATHER GIULIO MAROCCO. Joy that he feels in 

knowing that he is resolved to persevere in, his voca 
tion. Ciorani, July 12, .... . . . log 

48. To His DIRECTOR MGR. FALCOIA. Cio 

rani, July 24, . . . * . . . . .in 

49. To FATHER GIULIO MARQCCO. He tenderly exhorts 

him to return to Ciorani, as he is certain about his 
vocation. Ciorani, August 2, . . . .ill 

A. D. 1741. 

50. To FATHER C. SPORTELLI. He requests him to favor a 

religious vocation. S. Aniello, July 12, . . . 113 

51. To THE PRIEST DON GIUSEPPE SPARANO. -- He asks 

him to come to him for a moment s interview. S. Ani 
ello, July 29, 114 

A. D. 1742. 

52. To FATHER C. SPORTELLI. He expresses to him his 

desire of promptly returning to Ciorani. S. Aniello, 
June 22, . 115 

53. To THE SAME. Various requests to be forwarded to 

Mgr. Falcoia. [Ciorani, October 26], . . .116 

54. To DON MATTEO GRECO. Method of making mental 

prayer. [Ciorani], December 10, 117 

55. To THE KING OF NAPLES. Petition for the foundation 

of a house at Pagani. [Towards end of the year], . 119 

A. D. 1743. 

56. To His FATHER DON GIUSEPPE DE LIGUORI. He in 

forms him of the state of his health. Various 
counsels. Ciorani, March 28, .. . . . 120 

A. D. 1744. 

57. To FATHER C. SPORTELLI. Arguments furnished him 

against the adversaries of the Community of Pagani. 
[Ciorani], . . . . . . . . . 120 



Contents. 



LETTER 

58. To NICOLA M. CELESTINO DE ROBERTIS. Exhortation 

to correspond at once to God s call. Ciorani, 
March 15, ......... 125 

59. To THE SAME. He invites him to an interview. 

Means that he should use not to lose his vocation. 
Ciorani, April 7, ...... . .128 

60. To CANON GIUSEPPE SPARANO. He sends him a sketch 

of the Life of the Venerable Gennaro Maria Sarnelli 

to have it printed. Ciorani, July 17, . . . . 131 

61. To THE SAME. He sends him the manuscript of the 

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin, 
and asks him to revise it. Ciorani, August 10, . . 132 

62. To A MINISTER OF THE KING. A petition asking for 

his protection in favor of the house at Nocera 
(Pagani). [Ciorani], . . . . . . . 133 

63. To A GENTLEMAN OF INFLUENCE. The same sub 

ject. [Ciorani], ...... . .135 

64. To CANON CASATI. He announces to him his ap 

proaching arrival. Naples, November 28, . . 136 

65. To FATHER SAVERIO Rossi. Details in regard to the 

new foundation at Iliceto. [S. Maria] , Decem 
ber 19, ..... . . . .137 

66. To FATHER C. SPORTELLI. Project of abandoning the 

foundation at Pagani. Service asked for Iliceto. 
Iliceto, December 28, ..... . . . 140 



A. D. 1745. 

67. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. He ex 

horts her to give to prayer all the time that she can 
snatch from her occupations. Iliceto, April 14, . 144 

68. To THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF BENEDICT XIV. Petition 

to obtain the confirmation of the establishment of 
missionaries at Iliceto. [May 3], . . . . 145 

69. To FATHER GIOVANNI MAZZINI. He begs him to put 

in force regular observance. S. Maria , Septem 
ber 23, .......... 147 

70. To CARDINAL SPINELLI, ARCHBISHOP OF NAPLES. 

Petition to obtain faculties for the missions. [Decem 
ber] , . . . .148 



Contents. xi 



A. D. 1746. 

71. To THE MOTHER ABBESS AND THE NUNS OF THE 

MONASTERY OFTHESSMA ANNUNZIATA ATFOGGIA. 
Explanations relative to the use of figured music and 
and to the expenses contrary to poverty. [Beginning 
of the year], . . . . . . . .151 

72. To His BROTHER DON ERCOLE DE LIGUORI. He 

complains to him about his conduct, which was any 
thing but brotherly, in regard to certain temporal 
interests. [February], 154 

73. To THE SAME. He exhorts him to make the spiritual 

exercises. Iliceto, February 22, . . . " . . 157 

74. HOLOGRAPH TESTAMENT OF THE SAINT. [March 5]. 158 

75. To D. FRANCESCO A. RICCIARDI. Nature and ad 

vantages of renewals of missions. S. Maria, March 30, 159 

76. To FATHER ANDREA VILLANI. Gravity of the decision 

of a General Chapter. Precautions that should 
necessarily be taken. [Iliceto, October], . . . 161 

77. To FATHER C. SPORTELLI. - - The same subject. - 

Iliceto, [October], 164 

78. To THE KING OF NAPLES. Petition for founding a 

house at Caposele, 166 

7g. To FATHER G. MAZZINI. Various regulations in regard 

to studies. [Troia], November 27 167 

A. D. 1747. 

80. To SISTER MARIA CELESTE POPPA. What should be 

done in order to abolish the figured chant. S. Maria, 
January 30, . . . 168 

81. To SISTER MARIA CROCIFISSA PETITTO. -- The same 

subject. S. Maria, [January 30], .... 170 

82. To SISTER MARIA CELESTE POPPA. The same subject. 

Utility of persecutions. S.Maria, [March 10], . 171 

83. To FATHER G. MAZZINI? Confidence of the saint in 

the Blessed Virgin. Naples, June 25, ... 172 

84. To THE NOVICE GIROLAMO FERRARA. Vocation and 

family affairs. Examination of a particular case. 
[Naples], July I, 172 

85. To A FATHER OF THE CONGREGATION. Course of action 

in order to save the vocation of D. Ferrara. Naples, 
July 4, . . . . 176 



xii Contents. 



86. To FATHER G. MAZZINI. Solicitude of the saint to 

obtain the royal approbation of the Institute. [Naples] , 
July 4, .177 

87. To A CONSULTOR-GENERAL. Difficulties which his 

project meets of obtaining the royal approbation. 
[Naples], July 4, 178 

88. To FATHER G. MAZZINI. Request for counsel in a 

difficult affair. Naples, July 22, . . ;.. . J 8o 

89. To MGR. CELESTINO GALIANO, GRAND ALMONER. 

Considerations in view of the memorial to be presented 
for obtaining the royal approbation of the Institute. 

[July], . .182 

90. To FATHER PAUL CAFARO. Repugnance of the saint 

to the episcopate. [End of July], .... 184 

91. To FATHER G. MAZZINI. Difficulties relative to the 

approbation of the Institute. [Naples], August I, . 184 

92. To A CONSULTOR-GENERAL. Trials and annoyances 

that the saint has to endure at Naples. [August], . 186 

93. To FATHER C. SPORTELLI. A power of attorney to 

found a house at Caposele. [Ciorani, November 27], 186 

94. To THE PRIEST FRANCESCO MARGOTTA. He admits 

him into the Congregation. Ciorani, December 7, . 188 

A. D. 1748. 

95. To FATHER A. VILLANI. New agreement to be made 

with D. Andrea Sarnelli. Naples, February 4, . . 191 

96. To THE PRIEST DON FRANCESCO MARGOTTA. Solici 

tude of the saint in regard to the observance of the 
Rule. Naples, February 7, . 194 

97. To THE PRIEST DON ANDREA SARNELLI. Conditions 

on which he consents to a new contract. Naples, 
February 10, . . . . . . . 196 

98. To THE KING OF NAPLES. -- He solicits the legal 

recognition of the four houses of the Institute. - 
[February], I 97 

99. To THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF BENEDICT XIV. The 

saint asks for the apostolic approbation of his Con 
gregation. [March 30], ...... 199 

100. To A PRIEST. He gives him some salutary advice. 

Ciorani, April 26, . 2O2 



Contents. xm 



LETTER 



PAGF 



101. To A FATHER OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS. Affection 

and veneration of the saint for the Society. Nocera, 
May 31, .......... 203 

102. To MGR. FELICE LEONI, BISHOP OF AVELLINO. Re 

quest for a favor relative to ordinations. Ciorani, 
August 25, ... . . . . .204 

103. To CARDINAL SPINELLI, ARCHBISHOP OF NAPLES. 

Remarks intended to form the basis of a report con 
cerning the approbation of the Institute by the Holy 
See. [September], . . . . . . 205 

104. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA BELLA CROCE. Obligation 

of a religious to sustain observance , especially in 
regard to the admission of novices. Ciorani, Septem 
ber 15, .......... 209 

105. To A SUPERIOR OF His CONGREGATION. -- Two im 

portant regulations: one in regard to the health of the 
subjects ; the other about the protection of their 
vocation. Ciorani, December 26, . . . .211 

A. D. 1749. 

1 06. To DON POMPEO SCIBELLI. Request for a service. 

Ciorani, February 15, . ; . . . . . 213 

107. To D. GIUSEPPE MUSCARI. Various communications 

relative to the affair of the approbation and of privi 
leges. Ciorani, March 20, ...... 214 

108. To THE SAME. He accepts his religious profession, - 216 
log. To THE SAME. He charges him with a commission. 

Ciorani, May 28, ....... . 217 

no. To FATHER F. MARGOTTA. Deference of the "saint for 

the Archbishop of Conza. Various affairs. Carifi, 

November 13, . . .-. . . 218 

in. To THE SAME. He congratulates him on the success 

of certain apostolic labors. Cava, November 19, . 220 

A. D. 1750. 

112. To THE SAME. Orders in regard to the sale of the 
saint s books, and various other subjects. [End of 
January] ,....;.... 222 

113- To THE SAME. A Rector should remain habitually at 
home. -- Details relative to novices. [Ciorani], 
January 23, ... ^ ... 224 



xiv Contents. 

LETTER PAGK 

114. To THE SAME. Grave exhortations. Duties of a 

Rector. Necessity of dying to one s self. Ciorani, 
February I, . . 227 

115. To THE SAME. Joy at seeing him humble and re 

signed. Different details. Ciorani, February 7, . 230 

116. To FATHER C. SPORTELLI. He rejoices to hear that 

he is in better health. Ciorani, March u, . . 232 

117. To FATHER F. MARGOTTA AND TO His CONSULTORS. 

Orders left after the canonical Visitation made in the 
house at Caposele. Caposele, May 16, . , 233 

118. To CANON D. GIACOMO FONTANA. He sends him the 

"Glories of Mary." Ciorani, October 12, . . . 234 

119. To A GENTLEMAN OF VITOLANO. Arrangement about 

a mission. Naples, November 7, ... . 235 

120. To SISTER MARIA DI GESU, A CARMELITE. -- Answer 

to a difficulty in regard to holy Communion. Nocera, 
December 30, .... 236 

A. D. 1751. 

121. To CANON G. FONTANA. He asks him for information 

in regard to the studies at the seminary. Nocera, 
January 28, . . ... . 238 

122. To FATHER F. MARGOTTA. He complains of a lay- 

brother and of Father Margotta himself. Nocera, 
March 7, - .239 

123. To A NUN OF THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER. She 

should allow herself to be guided by obedience. 
Advantages of spiritual desolation. Ciorani, May 
30, \ . . . 240 

124. To FATHER G. MUSCARI. Immense wrong that he has 

done to the Congregation. Entreaty that he should 
no more bring the Institute into disfavor. [Ciorani, 
October 16], . I . . 243 

125. To THE VICAR-GENERAL OF BENEVENTO. He asks him 

to do a service. Nocera, November 4, ... 247 

126. To THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS OF THE CONGREGATION 

OF THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER. -- Means of pre 
venting the loss of vocation. Various ordinances 
regarding the missions. [November], . . 248 

127. To MOTHER MARIA DI GESU. The interest taken by the 

saint in the Community at Ripacandida. [December], 251 



Contents. xv 



A. D. 1752. 

128. To FATHER PIETRO PETRELLA. Obedience to Superiors 

is the most essential thing in the Congregation. 
Nocera de Pagani, January 5, . . " . . . 252 

129. To FATHER CARMINE PICONE. Request to sound the 

disposition of the Archbishop of Conza on one point. 
Nocera, January 15, ........ 253 

130. To MOTHER MARIA DI GESU. How she should behave 

in the absence of her director. Various counsels. 
Nocera, January 27, . . . . . . 254 

131. To FATHER SAVERIO Rossi. Penance to be imposed 

upon a lay-brother. Nocera, 10, [May], . . . 257 

132. To FATHER F. MARGOTTA. He begs him to regard the 

poverty of a house of the Institute. Nocera, June 2, 259 

133. To FATHER P. PETRELLA. He grants him various 

permissions. Nocera, June 7, 259 

134. To MGR. BORGIA, BISHOP OF CAVA. Details relative 

to the vocation of a young priest. Nocera, June 7, . 260 

135. To FATHER A. VILLAXI. Various details concerning 

the novitiate and the house at Ciorani. Nocera, 
June 14, 262 

136. To THE SAME. Various affairs. [Nocera, June 19], . 264 

137. To THE SAME. Solicitude of the saint about the health 

of his subjects. Naples, July 22, .... 265 

138. To THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS OF His CONGREGATION. 

Humility, but profound humility, is the true safe 
guard of perseverance. [July 27], .... 266 

139. To FATHER FRANCESCO BUONAMANO. He congratulates 

him on the detachment that he showed in regard to 
his relatives. Nocera, September 16, 268 

140. To A FATHER OF THE CONGREGATION. A great trial 

to which the Congregation is exposed. Naples, Satur 
day 23, [September], . . . . . . . 269 

141. To THE KING OF NAPLES. He solicits the exequatur 

for the Apostolic Brief of 1749. [September], . . 270 

142. To MOTHER MARIA DI GESU. The saint recommends 

to her prayers Marquis Brancone. Personal advice. 

Nocera, December 12, . . . . . 272 

143. To A FRIEND. He thanks him for the interest that he 

takes in the Institute. Nocera, December 25, . . 273 



xvi Contents. 



LETTER PAGE 

144. To FATHER BERNARDO APICE. -- He refuses him a 

change of abode. [1752 or 1753], 274 



A. D. 1753. 

145. To MGR. BASTA, BISHOP OF MELFI. Confidential letter 

in regard to the ordination of a subject. Nocera, 
February 10, . . . 275 

146. To MOTHER MARIA DI GESU. He refuses to allow a 

Father of the Congregation to be extraordinary con 
fessor. He exhorts her to maintain observance. 
Nocera, February 23, . . . . . . . . 276 

147. To THE SAME. Signs of illusion. How to act in 

reference to extraordinary graces. Nocera, March 28, 279 

148. To FATHER CARMINE FIOCCHI. Various missions that 

are to be given. Nocera, April 2, .... 282 

149. To THE NOVICE PIETRO ANGELO PicoNE. He consoles 

him and admits him to religious profession. [Be 
ginning of June], . . . . . . . . 284 

150. To A SUPERIOR OF THE CONGREGATION. Change of 

abode of two subjects. June 25, . . . . 286 

151. To MOTHER ANGIOLA DEL DIVING AMORE. She should 

use her influence with the Queen of Naples to obtain 
the approbation of the Institute. Nocera, July 4, . 286 

152. To SISTER ANNA CAMILLA DE LEONI. He exhorts her 

to bear her interior trials courageously, and writes out 
for her a rule of conduct. Nocera, July 5, . . . 288 

153. To THE MASTER OF NOVICES. He should employ 

kindness and discretion towards the novices, . 291 

154. To FATHER A. VILLANI. He announces to him the 

illness of Father Paolo Cafaro. Nocera, August 5, . 292 

155. To FATHER FRANCESCO GIOVENALE. He prescribes 

prayers for the recovery of Father Cafaro. Triple 
obedience imposed on the sick man. Nocera, Au 
gust 6, 293 

156. To FATHER F. MARGOTTA. He informs him of Father 

Cafaro s illness. Nocera, August 6, . . . . 295 

157. To FATHER F. GIOVENALE. Recommendation in regard 

to Father Cafaro. [Nocera], August 9, ... 296 

158. To THE SAME. Sentiments of resignation inspired by 

the death of Father Cafaro. Nocera, August 14, . 297 



Contents. xvn 

TTER PAGK 

159. To THE SAME. Recommendations relative to the 

government of the house at Caposele. - - Nocera, 
August 21, 299 

160. To FATHER F. MARGOTTA. Solicitude of the saint in 

regard to the health of the subjects. Details as to 
temporal affairs. Nocera, 31, [August], . . . 3 O1 

161. To THE SAME. Details relative to temporal affairs, to 

the mission at Calabria, and to various subjects. - 
Nocera, September 2, . . ... . . . 3 2 

162. To MOTHER MARIA ANGIOLA DEL DIVING AMORE. 

He begs her to obtain through the Queen the royal 
approbation of the Institute of the Most Holy Re 
deemer. Nocera, September 8, 305 

163. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. She should 

not refuse any charge. Avoid dissipation. Nocera, 
September 30, 3 of> 

164. To MOTHER MARIA ANGIOLA DEL DIVING AMORE. - 

He sends her some books. - Hopes in regard to the 
extension of the Reform of Carmel. Naples, Octo 
ber 6, 307 

165. To SIGNORA FILIPPA FARAD. He briefly explains to 

her the Rules of the Nuns of the Most Holy Redeemer 

at Scala. Nocera, 29, [October], .... 308 

166. To DON LUIGI SAGLIANO. He begs him to recommend to 

the Queen through Mother Maria Angiola the affair of 
the approbation of his Institute. Nocera, October 30, 309 

167. To MOTHER ANGIOLA DEL DIVINO AMORE. He again 

recommends to her the affair of the legal recognition 
of the Institute. Nocera, November I, 312 

LETTER OF THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF BENEDICT XIV. TO 
St. ALPHONSUS. [Rome, November 2], . 314 

168. To FATHER A. VILLANI. Solution of a difficulty. - 

[The year 1753?], ^ * 3*5 

169. To SISTER MARIA DI GESU. He recommends to her 

prayers the Institute and himself. Nocera, Decem 
ber 4, 3i6 

170. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. One must 

perform the duties of the offices imposed by obedience. 

[Nocera], December 4, 3 J 7 

171. To THE SAME. Prohibition to change her convent. 

Counsels in regard to patience. Nocera, December 12, 318 
B* 



xvm Contents. 

I.KTTER PAGE 

172. To DON LUIGI SAGLIANO. Exhortation to love Jesus 

Christ. He sends him various little works. Nocera, 
December 19, .. 319 

A. D. 1754- 

173. To THE SAME. He exhorts him to make a retreat. 

Nocera, March 4, ........ 320 

174. To MOTHER MARIA DI GESU. Exhortation to obedience 

and to confidence in God. Nocera, March 24, . . 321 

175. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. She should 

not desire to change her convent. Various counsels 

in regard to perfection. Nocera, April, . . . 322 

176. To MGR. FRANCESCO BONAVENTURA, BISHOP OF Nusco. 

He excuses himself for having retained two priests 
for the mission at Amalfi. Nocera, May 18, . . 324 

177. To FATHER PASQUALE CAPRIOLI. -- Solicitude of the 

saint for the restoration to health of Father Rossi. 
[About May 20], ........ 325 

178. To CARDINAL ANTONINO SERSALE, ARCHBISHOP OF NAP 

LES. He humbly exposes to him his views in regard 
to the state of the diocese of Naples and to the proper 
measures to be taken to remove certain disorders. 
Nocera, June 18, . . . . . ... . 327 

179. To FATHER ANTONIO TANNOIA. --He regulates the 

studies of some novices, ..... 329 

180. To THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS OF His CONGREGATION. 

Recommendations relative to observance, to study, 
and to different points of discipline. Nocera, Au 
gust 8, 331 

181. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He reproaches him for his 

excess of condescension. Nocera, August 31, . . 342 

182. To THE SAIVLE. Various recommendations. Nocera, 

September 8, ......... 344 

183. To THE SAME. Various commissions. Nocera, Septem 

ber 21, 345 

184. To THE SAME. Measures to be taken in regard to a 

student. Nocera, September 28, .... 346 

185. To THE SAME. Approbation of conduct in regard to 

the student Manfredonia. Nocera, October 2, . . 347 

186. To THE SAME. Sentiments of the saint in regard to the 

dispensation from the vows. [Nocera, October], . 348 



Contents. xix 



187. To FATHER S. Rossi. Exemplary chastisement inflicted 

on a disobedient subject. [Nocera], October 18,- . 349 

188. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Various recommendations 

relative to the house at Caposele, to private retreats, 
and to the students. Nocera, December 12, . . 3^0 

189. To THE SAME. Answer to be given to his bishop if the 

latter should wish to recall him to his diocese. 
Nocera, December 14 352 



A. D. 1755- 

190. To SISTER MARIA VINCENZA GIANNASTASIO. Behavior 

amid contradictions. Spiritual advice. Nocera, 
January 8, . . . 354 

191. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. He exhorts 

her to love contempt and to love the Sisters that 
oppose her. Nocera, January 14, .... 356 

192. To FATHER G. CAIONE. --He presses him to make 

application to the Archbishop of Conza. Various 
details. Pagani, January 27, . . . . . 357 

193. To THE SAME. He gives instructions how a Father is 

to be treated who is destined to teach. Nocera, 
March 23, . . . .^ . . -. . . 359 

194. To SISTER MARIA ANNA DI GESU. Counsels in regard 

to prayer and the practice of religious virtues. [The 
year 1755?], 359 

195. To THE SUPERIORS OF MISSIONS. Regulations relative 

to confessions. [The year 1755 ?], . . " . . 361 

196. To SISTER MARIA DI GESU. Answer in regard to some 

difficulties. The sending of two little works. 
Nocera, April 2, 362 

197. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Discretion of the saint in 

regard to a vocation and to the foundation of a new 
house. Naples, May 19, 363 

198. To THE SACRED CONGREGATION OF BISHOPS AND REGU 

LARS. Petition for the confirmation of the foundation 

of the new house at S. Angelo a Cupolo. [May], . 364 

199. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Various recommendations. 

Nocera, June I, . . . . . ... . 366 

200. To FATHER EMANUELE CALDARERA, ORATORIAN. He 

sends him two of his works. Nocera, June 4, . . 366 



xx -Contents. 



201. To THE POPE BENEDICT XIV. --He sends to the 

Sovereign Pontiff the second volume of his Theology, 
and asks him for some spiritual favors for his Institute. 
[Nocera, June 8], 3^7 

202. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Orders and counsels con 

cerning the house at Caposele. Nocera, June 10, . 370 

203. To SISTER MARIA VINCENZA GIANNASTASIO. Counsels 

regarding the acceptance of employments and the use 

of mortifications. [The year 1755?], . . . .372 

204. To FATHER C. PICONE. He tells him to invest certain 

postulants with the habit. [About June 12], . . 373 

205. To THE SAME. A recommendation, . . . 373 

206. To THE SAME. Qualities that novices should 

have, . . -374 

207. To THE SAME? Encouragement to be given to a 

postulant, 374 

208. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Various recommendations 

relative to the works of the saint and to the interests 

of the Institute. Nocera, June 22, ... . . 375 

209. To SISTER M. V. GIANNASTASIO. Behavior that she 

should adopt in the state of desolation in which she 
finds herself. Nocera, June 22, 377 

210. To FATHER G.. CAIONE. Recommendations in regard 

to various works of the saint. Nocera, June 28, . 378 

211. To THE SAME. Recommendation about different sub 

jects. Nocera, June 30, 379 

212. To THE SAME. He enjoins upon him obedience to the 

physician. Nocera, 6, [July], . ... . 381 

213. To THE NOVICE LUIGI CAPUANO. His behavior under 

certain difficulties relative to his vocation. Saragna- 
no, July 16, 382 

214. To SISTER M. V. GIANNASTASIO. He exhorts her to 

persevere in her exercises of piety. Saragnano, July 21, 384 

215. To THE NOVICE LUIGI CAPUANO. Additional advice 

as to the trial to which he is subjected. Nocera, 
July 22, 385 

216. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He charitably excuses the 

defects of a subject. Various matters. Ciorani, 
August 3, f . 386 

217. To THE NOVICE LUIGI CAPUANO. Behavior during 

temptations. Nocera, August 4, 387 



Contents. xxi 

LETTER PAGE 

218. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He counsels holy revenge. 

Nocera, August 5, . . . . . . . . 39 

219. To THE NOVICE LUIGI CAPUANO. Happiness that one 

enjoys in the Institute. Answer to several objections. 

Salerno, August 7, 391 

220. To SISTER MARIA NICOLETTA LEONI. He recommends 

resignation to God s will. Salerno, August n, . . 392 

221. To SISTER M. V. GIANNASTASIO. He encourages her 

to suffer contradictions in a Christian manner. Scala, 
September 14, . . . . . . 393 

222. To THE SAME. She should accept a charge without 

objection. Nocera, October 16, . . . . . 396 

223. To THE SAME. He exhorts her to tend to perfection 

courageously. Nocera, November 2, . . . . 396 

224. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He reproaches him for in 

curring a superfluous expense. [Nocera], November 
16, . . . ;--.-" 398 

225. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He forbids him to incur a 

superfluous expense. Benevento, November 17, . 399 

226. To His BROTHER DON ERCOLE DE LIGUORI. He begs 

him to ask for him the blessing of his dying mother. 
Benevento, November 23, ...... 400 

227. To FATHER PASQUALE AMENDOLARA. Various recom 

mendations. Details in regaid to the mission at 
Benevento. Benevento, November 23, . . 402 

228. To FATHER G. CAIONE. The measure in which neces 

sary sciences should be studied. Nocera, December 
15, . 404 

229. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Advice in regard to the 

health of the subjects, and useless expenses. Nocera, 
December 31, . 404 

A. D. 1756. 

230. To THE STUDENT MAURO MURANTE. He permits him 

to return to Pagani. Pagani, January 7, . . . 407 

231. To FATHER G. CAIONE. The sending of points about 

Venerable Brother Gerardo. Seditious pretensions 

of the lay-brothers at Iliceto. Nocera, January II, . 408 

232. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Punishment to be inflicted 

upon the lay-brothers at Iliceto. Other matters. 
Nocera, January 13, 410 



xxii Contents. 



LETTER PAGE 

233. To THE LAY-BROTHERS OF THE HOUSE AT ILICETO. 

He complains of their conduct and threatens them 
with punishment. Nocera, 13, [January], ... . . 413 

234. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Measures to be taken in regard 

to the lay-brothers. Nocera, January 16, . . .415 

235. To FATHER GIROLAMA FERRARA. Same subject. 

Pagani, January 18, . . . ... . 416 

236. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Disapprobation in regard to a 

mission. Conditions on which important missions 
may be accepted. Nocera, 19, [January], . . . 417 

237. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. The case of a lay-brother. 

Nocera, January 20, . . . . . . . 421 

238. To THE SAME. He asks him to assist a Brother tempted 

against his vocation. Nocera, January 21, . . 422 

239. To THE SAME. He refuses to dismiss a subject. 

[Nocera, end of January], . . . . . 423 

240. To FATHER G. FERRARA. Conditions required for 

dismissing a subject. [Nocera, end of January], . 424 

241. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He forbids the sending away 

of any one without his permission. Nocera, January 
30, ... 424 

242. To FATHER FRANCESCO PENTIMALLI. He exhorts him 

to perfect obedience. Nocera, February n, . . 426 

243. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He sends him different kinds 

of help. [February], .... ... 427 

244. To THE SAME. Measures to be taken in regard to 

various subjects. [February], ..... 427 

245. To THE SAME. Project of a foundation at Matera. 

Naples, March 6, . . ... , . 429 

246. To SISTER M. N. LEONI. He recommends to her 

conformity to the will of God. Naples, March 9, . 431 

247. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Solicitude of the saint for the 

health of the subjects. Naples, March 20, . . 432 

248. To SISTER MARIA DI GESU. Counsels regarding ob 

servance and resignation. Pagani, April 22, . . 433 

249. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Confirmation of an order 

already given. Nocera, May 2, .... . . 434 

250. To THE SAME. Request that he should work at the 

Constitutions. Nocera, May II, . . . . . 435 

251. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Various matters. The sending 

of a little work composed by the saint. Nocera, May 16, 437 



Contents. xxm 

LETTER PACK 

252. To SISTER M. N. LEONI. He exhorts her to patience. 

Nocera, May 19, . . . . . . . 439 

253. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He blames indiscreet zeal. 

Various counsels. Pagani, May 25, . " . . 441 

254. To SISTER MARIA DI GESU. -- Explanations regarding 

spiritual direction. Pagani, June [25], . . . 443 

255. To A FATHER OF THE HOUSE AT CIORANI. The sending 

of pecuniary aid to Iliceto. [June 3], . . . 445 

256. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. How he was to act in regard 

to an imprudent subject. June 3, . . 445 

257. To THE SAME. Advice relative to the novices. 

Poverty of the house at Iliceto. Nocera, June 24, . 446 

258. To THE SAME. He complains of useless expenses. 

[End of June], ........ 447 

259. To THE SAME. New complaints in regard to useless 

expenses. July 4, ....... 448 

260. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Advice relative to the health 

of the subjects. Ordination titulo patrimonii . 
[Beginning of July], ....... 449 

261. To THE COUNCIL OF ECCLESIASTICAL AFFAIRS. The 

saint solicits the legal approbation of his Institute. 
Refutation of objections. Naples, July, . . . 451 

262. To SISTER MARIA ANGELA ROSA GRAZIANO. He an 

nounces to her his early departure from Naples. 
Naples, [end of July], . , . . . 455 

263. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA BELLA CROCE. He exhorts 

her to fervor. Nocera, August 3, .... 456 

264. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Zeal of the saint for regular 

observance. Nocera, August 6, . . . . 457 

265. To MOTHER MARIA DI GESU. Duties of a Prioress. 

Various recommendations. Nocera, August 17, . 458 

266. To FATHER G. CAIONE. -- Exhortation to practise 

patience. [Nocera, month of August], . . . 459 

267. To THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS OF His INSTITUTE. 

He exhorts a rigorous observance of a point of the 
Rule. [Nocera, August 18], . . . . . 461 

268. To FATHER F. MARGOTTA. Recommendation. No 

cera, September I, . . . , . . . . 462 

269. To MOTHER MARIA DI GES"U. He explains to her 

the conduct of Father Fiocchi. Nocera, September 
2 4, - 463 



xxiv Contents. 

LETTER PAGE 

270. To FATHER A. VILLANI. Recommendations relative to 

the interests of the Institute. Nocera, October i, . 464 

271. To THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS OF His INSTITUTE. - 

Prohibition to go out without his permission. Nocera, 
October 2, 4 

272. To SISTER M. N. LEONI. He reproaches her for her 

impatience and exhorts her to resignation. Nocera, 
October 6, 4^7 

273. To FATHER G. CAIONE. -- He begs him to watch over 

the health of the students. Nocera, October 27, . 468 

274. To THE SAME. Various recommendations. Ex 

planation regarding some points of the Rule of the 
students. Nocera, 29, [November], . . . .469 

275. To MOTHER MARIA DI GES"TT. He exhorts her to correct 

abuses with prudence. Nola, December 4, . . . 47 1 

276. To CANON G. FONTANA. He speaks to him about one 

of his little works : " Rule for Seminaries." - Nola, 
December 9, . "... . 47 1 

277. To SISTER M. A. ROSA GRAZIANO. -- Advice as to 

spiritual life. Nocera, December 12, ... . 473 

A. D. 1757- 

278. To FATHER E. CALDARERA. Thanksgiving. Asking 

for a service. Nocera, 17, [January], . . . 474 

279. To SISTER M. A. ROSA GRAZIANO. He exhorts her to 

a perfect love of Jesus Christ. Nocera, 23, [January], 475 

280. To FATHER E. CALDARERA. - - Thanks for services 

1 rendered. Nocera, January 28, ... . 47 

281. To SISTER M. A. ROSA GRAZIANO. She should ask her 

director for a rule of conduct. [March 1757?], 477 

282. To THE SAME. He exhorts her to persevere in prayer. 

Nocera, April 8, 477 

283. To FATHER G. CAIONE. --He speaks to him of a 

mission that is to be given and of other subjects. 
Nocera, April 17, 478 

284x To DON GIUSEPPE CASELLE. He recommends to him 

to regulate the affairs of his family. Nocera, April 18, 480 

285. To A FATHER OF THE CONGREGATION. Hints as to the 
composition of a theological treatise. [Nocera], June 
3 [year uncertain], . . . 48o 



Contents. xxv 

LETTER PACK 

286. To FATHER CELESTINO DE ROBERTIS. He begs him to 

change his place of abode. [Nocera], June 4, . . 481 

287. To MGR. VITO Moio, BISHOP OF MURO. Promise made 

to a prelate, who was ill-disposed towards the Institute. 

[Nocera, June 8], . . . . . . 482 

288. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He requests him to watch 

over the observance of the Rule and the preservation 
of the health of the subjects. Rules as to the 
teaching of theology. Nocera, 15, [July], . . 483 

289. To SISTER MARIA DI GESU. He exhorts her to patience 

and gives her other advice. Nocera, July 22, . . 486 

290. To THE SAME. Unfavorable dispositions of the king 

towards the Institute. Nocera, October 2, . . 488 

291. To THE FATHERS OF THE CONGREGATION. Explanations 

as to the vow of poverty. Various recommendations. 

Nocera, October 3, ....... 489 

292. To SISTER M. A. ROSA GRAZIANO. He recommends to 

her obedience and perfect detachment. [Nocera], 
October 16, . . . . . . . 494 

293. To THE SAME. Recommendations in regard to obedience. 

Nocera, 28, [October], . . . . . 495 

294. To MOTHER MARIA CHERUBINA DEI SETTE DOLORI , 

CARMELITE. He exhorts her zealously to maintain 
regular observance. Nocera, October 29, . . . 495 

295. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Manner of treating a student 

who is tempted against his vocation. [Nocera], 
November 3, . . . . . . . . 496 

296. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He reproaches him for having 

revealed to him too late the unworthiness of a novice. 

Nocera, November 25 [year uncertain], . . . 498 

297. To FATHER PIETRO BLASUCCI. How he should act in 

regard to an indocile student. Nocera, December 20, 498 

A. D. 1758. 

298. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He earnestly recommends 

to him a postulant. Nocera, April 5, ... 500 

299. To THE PRIEST ANGELO MAIONE. Fears in regard to 

the health of this novice. Nocera, April 9, . . 501 

300. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Various counsels relative 

to the Master of novices and to the novitiate. Nocera, 
April 10, . ... J" . . . . . . 502 



xxvi Contents. 



LETTER PAGE 

301. To THE SAME. Some arrangements io be made in the 

novitiate and the house at Iliceto. Nocera, April 

29> 503 

302. To FATHER G. CAIONE. One cannot without the gravest 

inconveniences absolve a subject who has left the 
Institute without having received his dispensation. 
[Nocera], May 30, 504 

303. To FATHER E. CALDARERA. He testifies his friendship 

for him and recommends himself to his prayers. 
Nocera, June 9, .... . . * . 506 

304. To THE FATHERS AND STUDENTS OF THE CONGREGATION. 

The Propaganda had requested missionaries for 
Asia; an appeal is made to the zeal of the subjects of 
the Institute. Nocera, July 18, 507 

305. To FATHER PIETRO PAOLO BLASUCCI. He answers the 

students and gives them important advice. Nocera, 
July 27, 508 

306. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Another answer to the letters 

of the students. Nocera, August n, . . .510 

307. To THE NOVICES AT ILICETO. He urges them to render 

themselves worthy of one day going among the 
heathen. [Nocera, August], ... .. 511 

308. To THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS OF THE CONGREGATION. 

He inculcates upon them the observance of various 
points of the Rule. Nocera, August 13, . . 512 

309. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He exhorts him to moderate 

his labors, and gives him advice in regard to an im 
portant matter. Nocera, September 24, . . 518 

310. To THE RECTORS, MINISTERS, PREFECTS AND SUPERIORS 

OF THE MISSIONS. Various recommendations. No 
cera, September 30, . . . ... . . 519 

311. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Details relative to pecuniary 

matters and to the purchase of books. [November], 522 

312. To THE SAME. Utility of having critical spirits in the 

Community. Pecuniary embarrassments of the saint. 

Nocera, November 22, 525 

313. To THE SAME. Various recommendations to the Com 

munity at Caposele. Nocera, December 12, . . 527 

314. To THE STUDENT GIOVANNI,, B. GARGANO. -- Various 

points in regard to spiritual direction. -- Nocera, 
December 13, . . . . . .... . 528 



Contents. xxvn 



A. D. 1759. 

315. To AN ECCLESIASTIC. He congratulates him on his 

promotion to a dignity. Nocera, January 9, . . 529 

316. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Various communications. 

Nocera, January 9, . * * , . ... . 530 

317. To SIGNOR PIETRO DE RoBERTis. He announces a visit 

and thanks him for an important service. Nocera, 
February 23, - . 533 

318. To A FATHER OF THE CONGREGATION. Recommendation 

of r a person. He blames him for entertaining an 
opinion contrary to the infallibility of the Pope. 
Nocera, February 27, ....... 534 

319. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He asks his aid to oblige a 

bishop. Nocera, March 19, . . , . . 535 

320. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He speaks of the date to be 

fixed for an important mission. Nocera, April 12, . 536 

321. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA DELLA CROCE. Reasons 

for which the foundation at Villa degli Schiavi cannot 

be resumed. Nocera, May 25, . .. 538 

322. To FATHER CELESTINO DE ROBERTIS. He asks him to 

go to the mission at Agerola. Nocera, May 29, . 539 

323. To SISTER CARLOTTA FRAGGIANNI. He accedes to her 

request. Nocera, June 9, ...... 540 

324. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Earnest request for prayers. 

Nocera, June 14, 540 

325. To CANON GIUSEPPE SPARANO. He declares himself 

ready to grant the requests of the Archbishop of Naples. 

Nocera, September 7, ...... 541 

326. To MGR. I. SANCHEZ DE LUNA, ARCHBISHOP OF SALERNO. 

Request for faculties for all the missionaries of the 
Institute. [Nocera, November 3], . ... . . 542 

327. To SISTER MARIA GIOVANNA SPARANO. Practical rule 

of conduct in a particular case. Nocera, November 

26, . . .... 544 

328. To FATHER PASQUALE DE MATTEIS, S. J. Grief of the 

saint on learning the trials of the Society. Nocera, 
December 3, . 546 

329. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He consents to the profession 

of several novices, Various counsels. Pagani, 
December 6, . . , . . . , . . 548 



xxvin Contents. 

LETTER PAGE 

330. To THE SAME. He announces the arrival of two 

novices. Nocera, December 9, . . . . 548 

331. To FATHER M. MURANTE. He forbids him to go 

to his family to be cured. Nocera, December 14, . 550 

332. To FRATER ANDREA MORZA. He refuses to grant him 

certain dispensations. [End of the year], . . 551 

333. To THE SAME. Encouragement to fervor. [End of 

the year] . . 552 

A. D. 1760. 

334. To MGR. SANCHEZ DE LUNA, ARCHBISHOP OF SALERNO. 

Petition for faculties for reserved cases. [January 
22], . . 553 

335. To A NUN. What one must do in order to love God. 

Nocera, January 27, . . . ... . 554 

336. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Zeal of the saint for obe 

dience. Nocera, February 22, 555 

337. To THE SAME. He re-assures him on the subject of the 

preceding letter. Naples, March 4, . . . . 556 

338. To FATHER G. CAIONE. He asks him to obtain in 

formation about two postulants. Nocera, April 2, . 557 

339. To SISTER M. G. BELLA CROCE. -- Devotion to the 

Blessed Virgin a guarantee of a good death. Nocera, 
April 30, 558 

340. To FATHER GIUSEPPE MELCHIONNA. -- The saint re 

proves him very gently for his indiscreet request. 
Nocera, April 30, . . . . . . . 559 

341. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Various counsels. Nocera, 

May 2, 561 

342. To A FATHER ON THE MISSION. He gives him an order. 

Nocera, May 12, . 562 

343. To FATHER C. DE ROBERTIS. He names him Superior 

of a mission. [About May 16], 562 

344. To FATHER E. CALDARERA. He declares his opinion 
about a foundation in Sicily. Nocera, June 30, . . 563 

345. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Recommendations relative 

to various subjects and to studies in particular. 
Nocera, July 18, 565 

346. To FATHER P. DE MATTEIS, S. J. Sentiments of the 

saint in regard to the persecutions of the Society of 
Jesus. Nocera, August 17, 567 



Contents. xxix 



LETTER PAGE 

347. To MOST REV. FATHER RICCI, GENERAL OF THE SOCIETY 
OF JESUS. He asks him to have some one to refute 
the calumnies spread against the Society of Jesus. 
[The year 1760?], 568 

348. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Recommendations regarding 

certain members of the Institute and various apostolic 
labors. [November], . . . . . . 570 

349. To FATHER P. DE MATTEIS, S. J. Zeal of the saint in 

defence of the persecuted Society. Nocera, No 
vember 21, . . . . . . . 5y2 

350. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He speaks to him of an 

important affair. Nocera, December 12, . . . 57^ 

351. To SISTER MARIA ARCANGELA LIPPO. He complies 

with one of her wishes, but reproves her for insisting. 

Nocera, December 22, . ."".. . . . 574 

352. To THE BISHOPS OF THE KINGDOM. Letter announcing 

the forwarding to them of a little work entitled " The 
Mass and Office Hurriedly Said." December 27, . 576 
A. D. 1761. 

353. To FATHER G. CAIONE. Various commissions. 

Nocera, 9, [January], ....... 577 

354. To SISTER CHIARA GAIANO. He prescribes for her a 

rule of life. Nocera, January n, . ... . 577 

355. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He is astonished at not 

having received certain news. Nocera, January 22, . 579 

356. To FATHER GIOVANNI RIZZI. He approves of one of 

his decisions. Nocera, April 10, 580 

357. To D. FRANCESCO PANSA. He asks a favor of him. 

Nocera, May 6, . . 582 

358. To A FRIEND. He asks him to do a favor. [The year 

I76i?], . 582 

359. To THE BISHOPS OF THE KINGDOM. He sends them his 

Letter to a religious on the manner of preaching. 
[Nocera], May 10, ........ 583 

360. To A PRIEST OF BISAQUINO. He recommends to him to 

practise filial piety. Nocera de Pagani, May 19, . 584 

361. To FATHER G. RIZZI. He asks him to aid a Father in 

his studies. Nocera, May 21, ..... 585 

362. To His BROTHER DON ERCOLE. He asks him for the 

payment of interest on his life-annuity. Nocera, May 
2 4> " , .587 



xxx Contents. 

PAGE 
LETTER 

363. To SISTER CHIARA GAIANO. Rules of conduct amidst 

trials. Nocera, .May 28, . 588 

364. To FATHER G. RIZZI. He combats his scruples of con 

science. Nocera, July 5, 5^9 

365. To A SUPERIOR OF THE CONGREGATION. Acceptance of 

a house in Sicily. Nocera, August 3, 59 

366. To THE STUDENTS OF THE HOUSE AT CIORANI. Regu 

lations made at the canonical Visitation, - - . . -59 

367. To FATHER G. RIZZI. He exhorts him to despise his 

scruples and charges him with making an inquiry. 
[November 1761?], 59 2 

368. To D. NICOLO PENTIMALLI. Sentiments of condolence 

for the death of Father Pentimalli. Nocera, Novem 
ber 28, -594 

369. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. Announcement of the arrival 

of a novice. Nocera, November 28, .. . . 595 

370. To FATHER OLYMPIO PAVONE. - - He congratulates the 
1 author on the subject of his works. Nocera, Decem 
ber 27, -59 



371. To FATHER A. TANNOIA. He sends a letter addressed 

to the novices. Nocera, January 28, . . . . 597 

372. To THE NOVICES IN THE HOUSE AT ILICETO. Inestimable 

value of the religious vocation. Means of preserving 

it. Nocera, January 28, . . . . . 597 

373. To THE NOVICE, DON VINCENZO BUONOPANE. He ex 

horts the novice to unite himself more and more to 
Jesus Christ. Nocera, 28, [January], . . .601 



Fac-simile of a letter of St. Alphonsus addressed to 
FATHER MAZZINI, RECTOR OF THE HOUSE AT PAGANI. 

(See translation, page 147.) 



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(General Correspondence, 
i. 

BEFORE THE EPISCOPATE. 
(1730 1702.) 



PREFACE OF THE ITALIAN EDITOR. 



THE lives of the saints and everything that refers to them, 
no matter how unimportant and common-place they may be, 
excite in a wonderful manner the pious curiosity of the faith 
ful who derive great spiritual advantage from their perusal. 
This fact, attested by daily experience, is very beautifully ex 
pressed by St. John Chrysostom when speaking of the apostles 
he says : "Oh, would that we might meet with a man who could 
give us the history of the apostles ! Not a history, however, 
containing only what they wrote and spoke, but one portray 
ing for us the whole tenor of their lives, what and when they 
ate, when they remained at home, when they went forth into 
the world, what they did every day, what places they visited, 
what houses they frequented, what journeys they undertook 
by sea and by land, and all narrated with the greatest exact 
ness, for every detail is of the greatest utility to us." (In ep. 
ad Philem.} And what is here said of the apostles by St. 
John Chrysostom, may be applied equally well to all the 
great servants of God, the slightest details of whose lives 
have always formed the object as well of constant research as 
of religious veneration. Nor is it only the faithful who take 
an interest in such matters, but all sensible men who admire 
genius, because the heroism of Christian sanctity shines with 
such lustre that no thinking man can fail to recognize in the 
saints the heroes of humanity. 

It is not wonderful then that so great honor has been paid 
at all times and by all men to their writings, and especially to 
their letters or familiar epistles in which are displayed before 
our eyes the excellence of character and the eminent virtues 



4 Preface of the Italian editor. 

that made them the benefactors of religion, of society, and of 
the individual. 

Feeling- the full force of these considerations and confident 
that we should be doing a pleasing and useful work, we have 
undertaken to collect and to give to the public in one complete 
work as many letters of our holy Father St. Alphonsus as we 
have been able to find, many of which have never as yet 
appeared in print. We have chosen the present time for 
their publication on account of its peculiar appropriateness, 
for we celebrate this year the centenary of our Founder s 
happy death. 

The letters of St. Alphonsus regarded in their complex fall 
naturally into four classes : i . Letters to the religious of his own 
Congregation; 2. Letters of spiritual guidance; 3. Episcopal 
letters and ordonances ; 4. Letters bearing on the publication 
of his works and referring to other special affairs of the saint. 
Taking them as a whole, we do not hesitate to say that they 
give us a most faithful and perfect picture of this illustrious 
Doctor. 

Nowhere does the saint show more fully than in this 
correspondence, which extends over the space of a half- 
century, the secrets of that soul, naturally noble but so 
perfected by grace, as to render him like unto his divine 
Master. Founder of a religious Congregation, a missionary 
powerful in word and deed, a director experienced and en 
lightened, an exemplary bishop , an author of wonderful 
fecundity, St. Alphonsus came in contact with persons of the 
most diverse character, found himself face to face with great 
difficulties, and had to treat affairs and questions of every 
kind . His long career is, so to speak, mirrored in his 
correspondence. At one time the holy Doctor turns to his 
own sons , spurs them on , directs them ; at another he 
points out to souls hungering after perfection the simplest 
and safest road ; now as a bishop he addresses his clergy, 
the civil authorities and the princes of the Church ; then 
as a theologian he treats numberless questions in the field of 
controversy, which are nevertheless very useful ; then finally 
we see him as an author superintending the editions of his 



Preface of the Italian editor. 5 

numerous works. It is evident that a correspondence of this 
character cannot but be pleasing and interesting ; for con 
sidering the abilities of the author, we expect it to contain 
many excellent qualities. A style simple, natural, free from 
all obscurity, and a moderate use of ornament, joined to a 
great fund of topics (or displayed in a great range of topics), 
show us the author confident of his strength , master of 
thought, as well as of expression. Then that practical wisdom, 
that holy, singular and characteristic gift of the saint, reveals 
itself on every page. Finally, what crowns the work and 
excites our unbounded admiration is the continual insight 
into the apostolic soul that dictated these letters. That burn 
ing love of souls which ever characterized the saint and 
which made of him a true apostle, is the formal element, is, 
so to speak, the very soul that vivifies the whole correspond 
ence and all its parts. No matter whether the saint writes to 
his own sons or to strangers ; whether he gives to persons 
favored by our Lord safe and gentle rules or spurs on tepid 
and unfaithful souls to the practice of the virtues proper to 
their state ; whether he gently instils into the souls of the 
faint-hearted a filial confidence in God or shows to the 
scrupulous that their only means of salvation lies in obedience ; 
no matter whether he demands justice against the guilty or 
implores pardon for the unfortunate ; whether engaged in 
missions or in other works of the ministry, superintending 
the publication and sale of his works or praising the zeal of 
the publisher, everywhere and in everything we are forced to 
admire the apostle inflamed with zeal, animarum zelo suc- 
census, the apostle who lives no longer for himself, but for 
Jesus Christ, the ( love of whom was his only aim and his 
glory. From this source arose that forgetfulness of self, that 
absence of all pretension, that true simplicity with its ac 
companiments, true zeal with its attendants, and which stand 
out in this correspondence in bolder relief than in any other 
work. 

It must not, however, be supposed that the correspondence 
will on that account be monotonous and consequently less 
delightful reading ; on the contrary, on every page we meet 
i* 



6 Preface of the Italian editor. 

with the most pleasing variety. Take for example the letters 
which are intended for spiritual guidance. What a richness 
and variety of delightful subjects! Here we find the practical 
solution of questions relating to prayer and to its different 
species, to frequent Communion, to the line of conduct to 
be followed in time of spiritual consolation or in time of 
desolation, to a choice of a state of life, to the selection of a 
spiritual director, etc. These and a hundred more questions 
are treated here, we venture to say, mCTe clearly and more 
concisely than in the other works of the holy Doctor, since 
he had to adapt himself to a variety of persons, to their 
different intellectual capacity, and to their progress in the 
spiritual life. The director of souls and the simple child of 
the Church, the dweller in the cloister, and the secular, will 
without great study, be enabled to admire that wisdom of 
St. Alphonsus in guiding along the heavenly path the souls 
committed to his care. What a knowledge of divine things ! 
What sweet and prudent slowness! What watchfulness in 
temoving all obstacles to grace! What energy in urging on 
the negligent! What constant charity in comforting desolate 
souls and in aiding sufferers of all classes, by showing them 
the great value of tribulations ! 

The historical notices of so great importance in our day are 
as abundant as they are valuable. Not to speak of what 
relates to the author, whose life is here outlined in great part, 
or of his Institute, the different phases of which are here 
described, or of his diocese and its government, the great 
event of the eighteenth century, the furious onslaught o 
infidelity, the tyrannical and hypocritical measures of the 
Neapolitan government, especially that regalism, the sworn 
enemy of the holiest rights of the Church, the suppression of 
the Society of Jesus, the persistent and malignant assaults of 
Jansenism on sound Catholic doctrine, all these great events, 
the importance of which has not been dimmed by time, gain not 
a little light^from remarks scattered here and there throughout 
the correspondence. The saint s judgment on men and 
things expressed in his own peculiar style (my concise style, 
he said to his publisher, Giuseppe Remondini, in a letter dated 



Preface of the Italian editor. 7 

April 8, 1770) will often tell the reader more than he 
would gain from the pages of history. Moreover, the reader 
will find here historical matter hitherto unknown which will 
serve to remove more than one difficulty and solve more than 
one historical problem. Church history itself cannot fail to 
be benefited by this work. Finally, no matter how great a 
man s esteem for the saint may be, he cannot gain a true 
knowledge of his ceaseless activity, of his services to the 
Church, not to mention his patience in supporting the vex 
ations of the civil authority and the bitter attacks of enemies 
banded together for the ruin of the Congregation, if he 
remains unacquainted with the saint s correspondence. 

We confidently think that the reader will share our con 
viction and will not accuse us of exaggeration, if he will take 
the trouble to verify for himself, all that we have said ; this 
he may easily do by taking the general index as a guide. 

It will not be out of place to say a few words about the 
authenticity of the letters. In the editions printed at Rome, 
1815, at Turin, 1831, and at Naples, 1848, the whole of the 
correspondence is not to be found ; leaving room for im 
provement. We need not wonder at this. The works of 
the saints, and especially their letters, do not all become known 
at the same time. We may say of their letters what the Holy 
Scripture says of their virtues : Justorum semita, quasi lux 
splendens procedit et crescit usque ad perfectum diem. But 
the path of the just as a shining light goeth forward and 
increaseth even to perfect day. (Prov. iv. 18.) Such was the 
case with St. Ignatius of Loyola, with St. Teresa, with St. 
Jane Frances Chantal, with St. Vincent of Paul and others ; 
these letters, truly treasures, scattered and hidden, were 
found and collected at the time marked out by Providence 
for the edification of the faithful . The same happened 
to the letters of our saint. Having been scattered here and 
there during .his life on account of his wide-spread correspond 
ence, it was impossible to collect them all at one time ; long 
and persistent research was needed to bring them to light. 
Some were hidden beneath the dust of libraries whence they 
were providentially rescued some ten years ago; a great 



8 Preface of the Italian editor. 

number had found their way into the hands of antiquaries 
and collectors of the autographs of celebrated men ; others, 
finally, more than a thousand in number, having been ex 
amined by the Church in the process of the saint s beatification 
had been given to his numerous clients as precious relics, 
and had in this manner been scattered broadcast over the 
world. To obtain possession of these treasures, we resorted 
to all practices ; we even called in the aid of the Catholic 
press to work upon the benevolence of those who either 
possessed such letters, or at least knew where any were to 
be found, in order that we might obtain at least a true cop3 r . 
Our labor was not in vain ; God deigned to bless it. Eccles 
iastics and seculars and religious Communities responded 
courteously to our wishes. And here we feel it incumbent on 
us to thank them for their kindness, and we pray our holy 
Founder, to whose glory they have contributed, to grant them 
his choicest blessings. Nor have we neglected to write at 
the end of each letter the names of those who so kindly lent 
them, to show in this way our gratitude. We regret that we 
are not able to do this in every instance ; for some of the 
letters though scrupulously authenticated by ecclesiastical 
authority reached our hands without any indication as to the 
names of their holders. 

The number of the letters thus far collected convinces us 
that our edition surpasses by far the others in point of 
number, although we confess it is not so complete as we had 
wished to make it. The catalogue of letters drawn up for the 
beatification shows us that more than three hundred letters 
are still missing. Our wishes will some day be fulfilled, and 
God knows how earnestly we desire this. Again we entreat 
our courteous readers most earnestly and warmly to help us 
to fill out this void and to enable us to publish an edition in 
which nothing shall be wanting. 

It will be scarcely necessary for us to remark that we have 
followed the text most scrupulously, going even so far as to 
leave unaltered those careless expressions which flow at times 
from the pen of every writer; as an excuse for this negligence 
we can say that St. Alphonsus never thought of their future 



Preface of the Italian editor. 9 

publication ; he wrote and dictated them while overwhelmed 
with business affairs, concerning himself only about the sub 
stance of the letter. We thought it advisable to enclose in 
brackets the common Italian term for some of the words 
belonging to the Neapolitan dialect which might have pre 
sented some difficulty to the reader . For the sake of 
uniformity the dates have been placed at the beginning of the 
letters. As however the date is missing in more than one 
letter, we have endeavored with all possible care to glean the 
elate from the matter treated ; we have marked with a special 
sign all such letters. With the exception of these slight 
modifications, we may say that the letters remain exactly as 
they were written or dictated by the saint ; we say, dictated, 
for from the year 1758 he required the services of an amanuensis 
on account of a malady contracted at that time. 

44 I am not answering with my own hand (thus he wrote 
from Nocera , August 3 , of the same year), as since my 

last sickness my hand gives me too much trouble If 

there be a real necessity, I force myself to write what is 

necessary little by little " To this source we may 

ascribe the occasional omission of a name in these formulas 
so frequently used by him, Live Jesus, etc., careless ex 
pressions, and especially needless repetitions, for we know 
that when he was bishop, he was often obliged to summon to 
his aid a simple lay-brother, the good Brother Francesco An 
tonio Romito. 

It would have afforded us the highest satisfaction, to have 
been able to reproduce the whole correspondence with the 
original letters before our eyes, though we can say that we 
have a great many which we have marked : After the original. 
Although, in spite of our labors, we have not been able to 
obtain all the originals, we do not think that the authenticity 
of the letters will be affected thereby. We have found some 
excellent copies in the general archives, the preservation 
of which we owe chiefly to the immortal biographer of the 
holy Doctor, Father Antonio Maria Tannoia ; these are 
marked : After an old copy. As for the others, with the 
exception of a few letters taken from the Neapolitan edition. 



io Preface of the Italian editor. 

we have closely followed the Roman edition, as the reader 
will easily perceive. This latter edition, the work of th e 
Postulator of the cause of the saint s canonization, Rev. 
Vincenzo Giattini, is authentic in every respect, as we have 
been able to compare it with a great number of the original 
letters. It may not be amiss to add here that though the 
printed text of the Roman edition is the text of St. Alphonsus, 
it is not, unfortunately, always the entire text ; having had 
occasion to compare some letters with the originals, which 
we had at hand, we found more than one omission which the 
editor saw fit to make, perhaps because he did not consider 
the parts omitted directly conducive to the edification, profit 
and spiritual advantage of the reader, the end that he had in 
view in editing the letters. 

We must now say a few words about the order which we 
have followed in the arrangement of the letters. 

On account of the diversity of matter and of persons it 
would be difficult, not to say impossible, to give an exact 
classification of the letters . Seeing, however, the great 
utility of some such arrangement, we have endeavored to 
meet it by dividing the whole work into two parts, under the 
heading of general correspondence and special correspondence. 
In the first division we place all the letters of whatever 
import addressed by the saint to his own Sons, and to externs 
of every class and condition, to ecclesiastical and civil author 
ities, to nobles, plebeians, relatives, friends, etc., but es 
pecially to cloistered persons striving for perfection. 

In the second part we shall place, first, the letters re 
ferring to the works of the holy Doctor, their publication, 
the reasons that induced him to write them, his method 
of writing, the exposition and development of his moral 
system, etc.; these we shall call scientific letters; then follow 
the letters written during his episcopate, under the form 
either of notifications, decrees, instructions to his clergy and 
through them to the people, or of reports of his Visitation 
sent to the Sacred Congregation of the Council ; added to 
these are letters wherein he treats ejc professo of the govern 
ment of his diocese , of giving missions or exercises to 



Preface of the Italian editor. 1 1 

ecclesiastics, etc.; these we shall call generically pastoral 
letters. 

As far as possible we have held to the chronological order, 
which, in our opinion, is the clearest and most natural, as it 
removes ambiguity, avoids repetition, and causes one to see 
the activity of the saint developing, as it were, before our 
eyes. 

Finally, in order to place everything in the clearest light, 
we have thought it advisable to insert here and there notes 
throwing light upon persons and matters spoken of in the 
letters ; the notes have been taken from most trustworthy 
sources. 

If the reader should at times find them superfluous, es 
pecially those relating to members of our Congregation, we 
ask him to bear with us, as we were anxious to avail 
ourselves of the occasion to make honorable mention of 
those who, in our eyes, most deserved it. 

True it is that the value of such a correspondence cannot 
be heightened by our poor labor, but the year in which 
it sees the light, adds to it a new and well-merited lustre ; the 
year eighteen hundred and eighty-seven is the first centenary 
of the death of the saintly author ! During the past century the 
spirit of St. Alphonsus has been working in the Church, and 
She has not forgotten to crown his name with honor. It is 
therefore with most joyful hearts that we bring our humble 
flowers to adorn the beautiful garland that decks the brow 
of our holy Father; we lay our poor offering, the pledge 
of our filial love, at the foot of his glorious tomb, imploring 
at the same time for ourselves, our gentle readers, and for 
all the devout clients of St. Alphonsus, his paternal blessing. 

ROME, June 19, 1887, Feast of our Lady of Perpetual Help. 



LETTERS OF 

ST. ALPHONSUS MARIA DE LIGUORI 



PART I. 
General (Torres ponbence. 



LETTER I. 
To Mother Angiola del Cielo 1 and to the Nuns of Scala. 

The saint gives various exhortations, general as well as 
particular, and recommends to the prayers of the nuns one of 
his penitents, who was greatly troubled in spirit. 

Praised be Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and Teresa ! 

NAIM.KS, October 29, 1730. 

May Jesus and Mary always possess our hearts! Finish 
Thy work, O Lord ! and take entire possession of our 

I Mother Angiola del Cielo, called in the \vorld Maria de Vito, 
was born at Naples in the year 1700. At the age of 19, burning with 
the desire to consecrate herself to the Spouse of virgins, she in 
company with her sister entered a conservatory which had recently 
been founded in the little town of Scala. Her great piety and the 
soundness of her judgment were such that, though still very young, 
she was considered worthy to fill the responsible position of mistress 
of novices, and in the year 1729 she was elected Superior of the 
Community. Understanding, however, from certain supernatural 
revelations that another Rule, the principle aim of which should be 
the continual imitation of our Saviour Jesus Christ, was to be 
substituted for the Rule hitherto observed, Mother Angiola employed 
all her energy to bring about this change, since the above-mentioned 



14 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

hearts; we are willing to lose them, and may we find them 
no more, if only they are in Thy hands, for then they are 
in good hands. 

I received your first letters on the feast of my patroness 
St. Teresa: it was a consolation for me only to see the 
envelope, for it told me who had written those letters. 
I did not write before, because I have been very much 
occupied, especially with the mission which is being held at 
Naples, and which is still to be concluded ; added to this, 
I have, as you see, many correspondents to answer. 

Now I am writing, and I wish to tell you that though 
some time has elapsed since my stay at Scala, my re 
membrance of you is as vivid as if I had departed only 
yesterday. If this should appear to you to be saying too 
much, ask our Lord to make me forget you ; because, as 
far as I am concerned, I hope that memory will ever be the 
same ; since, far from drawing me away from God, it serves 
to unite me more closely to him. I wish you also to know 
for your common -consolation that the words of your letters 
are like so many arrows that wound me with the love of 

revelations had received the approval of St. Alphonsus during the 
spiritual exercises given by him in September, 1730. The following 
year, in the month of May, the conservatory of Scala adopted the 
new Rule, taking at the same time the name of the Most Holy 
Saviour. Thus was most solemnly begun the Institute known to-day 
by the name of the nuns of the Most Holy Redeemer or Redemptor- 
istines , whose Rule received the approbation of the Holy See 
in 1750. 

Mother Angiola was frequently re-elected Superior, so that we 
might almost say she always presided over that fervent Community. 
She enjoyed the good fortune of having for upwards of ten years the 
Venerable Gennaro Sarnelli as her spiritual director, and the 
numerous letters addressed to her, which are now in our possession, 
show us clearly the height of sanctity to which she attained. 

This holy religious, whose memory is blessed among the children 
of St. Alphonsus, died a holy death, in the year 1782. 



Letter /. 15 

God. Courage then, Sisters ! let us give our hearts entirely 
to Him who is knocking for admittance, and let us banish 
from them everything that is not for God. In order to give 
ourselves to him without reserve, let us endeavor to go out 
of ourselves, so that God may find no obstacle when he 
comes to take possession of our hearts. 

Up to the present time, as I have already told you, I 
have been paying up for the agreeable time that I spent at 
Scala ; I am as well as one can expect during the storm ; I 
am in such a state that at times I can see neither heaven 
nor earth, and I find within myself a dark abyss, ubi nullus 
ordo, sed terribilis horror inhabit at, where no order, 
but everlasting horror dwelleth. [Job, x. 22.] May the 
will of God be ever done ! and if it be for the greater glory 
of God that I should be damned, may the will of God be 
done ! This I say in all sincerity. Pray to God for me, 
that I may not offend him, since it would not be for his 
greater glory that I should offend him. O Lord ! here I 
am ; hell would be little for me. 

Mgr. Falcoia 1 has written to me in terms so affectionate, 
that he has entirely captivated me; he did not mention 
when he would return, but I understood it was to be about 
the 2oth of November. 

My dear Mother, I beg you most earnestly to pray and 
to have prayers said for my poor penitent Maria ; I know 
no longer what to do or what to say to her. She does not 
hear me, she does not understand me. The more I say, 
the more troubled she becomes ; hence she is also tempted 
to leave me. I have told her that she may go to whom 
she wishes, but I see that it is only a temptation. She is 
tempted almost continually to commit suicide. It appears 
to her that there is no God, and that if there be a God, he 

1 Tommaso Falcoia, a member of the Order of the Pious Workers, 
was the spiritual director of the nuns of Scala. He was at that time 
at Rome, where during the same month he was consecrated bishop. 



1 6 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

hates her and she hates him ; moreover, it seems to her 
that this hatred which she bears towards God does not 
afflict her, and this thought only increases her misery. 
Her anguish, the reason and source of which she cannot ex 
plain, is so great that she has almost gone out of her mind. 
Only yesterday, while she was kneeling in the confessional, 
her pain was so excessive that it brought on a kind of 
swoon, which rendered her speechless. I tell you all this 
in order to excite your compassion for this poor desolate 
soul, who, I must say, consoles me by her prompt obedience 
even in things the most difficult which I have imposed upon 
her in order to try her. I ask you to pray for her for at 
least three days, and to recommend her to the prayers of the 
Community at holy Communion ; moreover, have the Litany 
of our Lady said, that God may give me light and her 
strength to obey and to suffer this great affliction. If she 
does not throw off the yoke of obedience, I hope that 
she will give great glory to God ; but there is need of much 
prayer and assistance. Pray then for her, as God has 
perhaps made me acquainted with you in order to obtain 
your prayers in behalf of this soul. And she in her turn 
will pray for you as well as she can. 

Now, my dear Sisters, do not grow negligent in praying 
for me. I, who am a priest, called to save souls, should 
be filled with zeal for the glory of God : pray that I may 
give him pleasure, and then if he wishes to send me to hell, 
may his will be done ! I shall appear importunate by 
repeating so often, Pray for me ; because I fear that as time 
goes on you may grow cold. You must know that the 
very thought that you are praying for me gives me courage, 
and spurs me on to give pleasure to God, as it seems to me 
almost impossible that God can refuse to hear you when 
you pray earnestly for some soul, and say to him as St. 
Teresa was accustomed to say: Lord, we wish to obtain 
this for our friend. How discouraged I should feel if you 



i73o.] Letter i. 1 7 

should cease to pray for me ! I beg you, if that should 
ever happen, to leave me in ignorance of the fact, that I 
may flatter myself with the thought that you are still praying 
for me. It would be a very great trial for me to find that 
you had forgotten me in your prayers. I for my part never 
forget you in my prayers, poor as they may be : to tell the 
truth, you share in a great part of my unworthy prayers. 
It seems to me that I pray more for you than for myself: 
for, as regards myself, I endeavor to be resigned if God 
wishes me to remain in the lowest grade of sanctity ; 
but as for you, I will not rest until I see you all like 
Seraphim. 

From time to time I turn towards your home and ex 
claim : O ye enamoured souls ! love Jesus. Love him, 
then ; do not lose a moment of time ; you can give him 
the greatest pleasure. Remember that he loves you without 
ceasing ; he loses no time. Speak to him often, especially 
when you find yourselves before him in the Blessed Sacrament ; 
speak to him of love rather than of anything else : for he 
enjoys the conversation about love more than any other 
subject. Love Jesus : love above all his Sacred Heart and 
his divine will. Do not trouble yourselves as to whether 
you are among the predestined or the reprobate, among 
the abandoned or among the favorites of God. Unite your 
will with the will of God, and then say : O Lord ! Thy 
pleasure and Thy glory are sufficient for me. Let this be 
our only aim to glorify God in ourselves; after that let 
disgrace and abandonment, crosses and trials, storms and 
darkness, desolation and despondency, come upon us ; let , 
them come as often as it pleases God to send them. He 
remains the same good God, worthy of all our love ; may he 
then be blessed and loved forever ! 

Let us always speak in this manner, and then place all 
our confidence in God, for this is what he earnestly desires. 
I beseech our Lord to cause your hearts to burn in that 



T 8 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

furnace of love, of which St. Teresa speaks, and in which 
love is the torture of hearts. 

My heart, confide and hope : 
The tempest too is able oft 
To bring the bark to port. l 

Do me the favor to omit henceforward in your letters the 
title Most Illustrious, as I am not a bishop. 

Don Giovanni 2 recommends himself to the prayers of all. 

You may read the foregoing in public ; but the following 
lines you will please read yourself, and then read to those 
particular Sisters to whom I am writing privately. 

My penitent is writing to Sister Maria Colomba. 

In the first place I address you not as Mother, but as 
Maria Angiola, and I wish to say to you : My daughter (I 
call you so because you call me Father), I am deeply 
grateful to you for whatever you do for me. I know that 
you not only pray for me yourself, but that you also 
recommend me very often to the prayers of the Community. 
To judge from your manner of acting, I should say that 
you are a woman of deeds rather than of words. You cannot 
imagine what great pleasure your conduct affords me. 

Do not forget to pray for me ; I never forget you nor 
will I ever do so, I assure you. I am no friend of twaddle, 
but I speak as I really feel. I recommend you to God in a 
special manner not only at Mass, but also in all my humble 
prayers ; the grace which I ask from God for myself I seek 
to obtain for you also. 

You are a guiding light to me, as I am certain that God 
reposes in your heart and wishes never more to leave it. 

1 Cor mio, confida e spera : 
Che la tempesta ancor, 
Condune sa talor 
La nave in porto. 

2 Giovanni Mazzini was one of the first companions of the saint. 






Letter i. 19 

Gratitude, as you well know, even towards our neighbor, 
is not displeasing to God. Your soul is very, very dear to 
God. It rests with you to inflame me with the love of 
God : it will be sufficient if you speak only one tender word 
to him when you recline upon his bosom after holy Com 
munion. 

The fears you express with regard to Maria Colomba fill 
me with great consolation : it encourages me to tell her 
that she must surrender her whole will to God, for he 
desires this. I conclude by blessing all your affections, 
thoughts, words, deeds, and in fact everything that is 
yours. 

I forgot to send you that souvenir. I send you in this 
letter the verse: Dio mio, ecc. My God, etc. 1 

I send to Maria Cherubina her prayer : Gesii mio, ecc. 
My Spouse, etc. Tell her from me that sorrow for sin is 
not necessary for one who has been already pardoned by 
God. I wish her to become inflamed with love, to become 
foolish for love, and finally to die of love for him who 
became a fool and died for love of us. Let her do this, 
and I, on my part, will take upon myself the responsibility 
of rendering an account of her soul ; tell her that I bless her. 

To Sister Maria Felice : Please tell her, I shall continue 
to offer her will to God, and that she must continue to do 
the same in my regard. I send her also the little prayer : 
My Jesus, etc., which she has asked for. 

To Sister Maria Rosa: Our dear Lord wishes her to 
become a saint, but without any delay. St. Rose became a 
saint and died the death of a saint while still very young. 

Tell good Sister Maria Raffaella 2 that I send her the 

1 These little remembrances were written on separate small slips 
of paper ; they have all been lost. 

2 Sister Maria Raffaella was the sister of Mother Angiola del Cielo, 
and she it was who in the year 1767 founded the monastery of the 
nuns of the Most Holy Redeemer, at St. Agatha of the Goths. 



2 o Gen era I Correspon den ce. [PARTI. 

following message : My dear Sister, I rejoice to hear that 
you have become blind and deaf; I would that you were as 
I desire to see you. I am delighted to hear again : Amo, c 
pure non so che ne sento amore. I love, and yet I know 
not what I love. Whether you are far or near, united or 
separated, love, love the adorable will of God ; do not 
trouble yourself to find out whether you love or do not 
love, whether you belong to God or not. Seek neither 
consolation nor light ; do not strive to come forth out of 
your darkness and misery ; everything happens according 
to the sweet will of God. For example, it is the will of 
God that you pray for me ; abstain then from doing so if 
you can ! Do not give yourself any further thought as to 
whether your prayer helps me or not. It is certain that if 
you make a saint of me, I shall be better able to assist 
you, as you well observe. I shall send the message for 
you to Mamma, * through my other Mamma, St. Teresa ; 
I know that Mamma will listen to it with the greatest 
pleasure. May Jesus and Mary bless you ! 

To Sister Maria Michele : Tell her that if my impre 
cations* were realized, she would have to be pitied ; and 
let her know that I shall not cease to pray for her until I 
learn that she is fairly burning alive with the love of God. 
I wish she would obtain from her Spouse, who I know- 
loves her dearly, the same imprecation for me. I send her 
my blessing. 

To Sister Maria Eletta : Ask her to keep her word, as 
I always recommend her to God. 

To Sister Maria Emmanuele: I wish her to belong- 
entirely to God before she dies. 

To Sister Maria Giuseppa : I do not kno\v whether you 

1 Our saint was accustomed to employ this tender epithet when 
speaking of the most holy Mother of God. 

% The word imprecations is here used ironically. 



I730.J Letter /. 21 

delivered my message to her, and whether she has promised 
to pray for me. Remember me again to her. . 

To Sister Maria Cristina : She ought to thank our dear 
Lord for all the lights that he has vouchsafed her ; let her 
be careful to follow them. I thank her for her kind 
remembrance of me, and ask her to continue to pray for 
me, as I never forget her in my prayers. 

To Sister Maria Evangelista : Tell her that in accordance 
with the promise that I made her, I recommend her very 
often to God : I hope that she, on her part, will keep her 
word. Let her also know that her Spouse is a jealous 
Spouse ; he wishes to have her all his own. 

To Sister Battista : I shall beseech our Lord to imprison 
her in his divine Heart. 

You may tell all in particular , if they should ask , 
that I always remember them in my prayers, since I pray 
for all ; tell them not to forget me. 

If it should happen that you have to write to me before 
Christmas, especially if you wish to speak to me about 
Mgr. Falcoia, or about your own affairs, please write before 
the middle of December ; for I believe about that time we 
shall have to set out for a distant mission, a journey of some 
eight days from Naples. 

May God be our all ! Praised be Jesus and Mary ! 

Mamma has begun to finish her work in my regard ; this 
has induced me to compose a little canticle in her honor, 
which I now send you. You may read it to the others. 

I am, your most devoted and humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, a wretched sinner. 

After an old copy. 



2* 



22 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 2. 
To a Community of Nuns. 

Books sent. Various counsels. Exhortations to love 
Jesus and Mary. 

[The year 1731.] 

My beloved Sisters in Jesus and Mary, praised and blessed 
forever be Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and Teresa ! 

Chains ! ciliciums ! I send you a good supply of books, 
which will do more to make you holy than chains and 
ciliciums. I have sent you eight books for meditation. 
You will please make three divisions of all the books that 
you receive : one for meditation, one for private reading in 
your cell, and one for the reading at table. 

With regard to meditation, you may make use of one 
book in the morning and of another during the day. 
Choose any one that pleases you : they are all excellent. 

After you have finished that meditation book on the 
presence of God, I wish you to begin the book called 
" Motives for Loving God." 1 It would please me very 
much were you to make your morning meditation, for the 
most part, on the Passion of our Saviour, using for that 
purpose the little book, " Meditations on the Passion," by 
Da Ponte, or one by Spinola. On the feasts of our Lady 
or of the saints, take Spinola. 

When you make your meditations from the book " Mo 
tives for Loving God," divide a point into three parts ; do 
the same with the meditation on the Passion. 

P or private spiritual reading I send you eleven books, 
which Mother Superior will distribute among you ; let them 

1 " Motives for Loving God," explained in meditations taken from 
the works of several authors of the Society of Jesus, work published 
by P. Jacopo Sanvitale, S. J. 






i73i.J Letter 2. 23 

be circulated among all the Sisters in such a manner that 
each one will have the pleasure of reading them all. 

I have sent you six lives of saints for the reading in the 
refectory; they will last a long time, and when you have 
finished them, begin to read them anew. I do not wish 
you by any means to give up reading at table in the 
morning P. Marchese s 1 little work on the Madonna, which 
I understand you have. As for the rest, you may read 
any life. 

Pay attention to what I am now going to say (I have 
already called the attention of the nuns of Scala to this 
point and they have obeyed me ; I forgot to tell it to you 
before) : in the reading at table, be extremely careful to 
read slowly and to observe the necessary pauses ; for 
otherwise the reading cannot be understood and the listen 
ers grow weary ; let it be loud enough for all to hear. 
Remember this, for if when I arrive I find that you have 
not obeyed me, I shall scold you without fail. I have 
spoken with P. Sparano ; he has conceded you the privilege 
of receiving holy Communion every Saturday in honor of 
our Lady. 

Well now, do you want anything else? You see now 
that I have not forgotten you, and that I have been 
thinking of your welfare ; try to forget me, if you have the 
heart to do so. Do not omit to recommend my poor 
penitent Maria a every day to the Blessed Virgin ; she is at 
present plunged in the very depths of misery. Ask Jesus 
to give her strength to endure this awful visitation, and 
pray to him for me. 

I wish to make another remark with regard to the 
reading, and that is, that you are free to use for private 
spiritual reading the books destined for table reading, and 

1 A sacred diary for devout clients of Mary, for every day in the 
year, by P. Francesco Marchese, of the Oratory at Rome. 
% Mention is made of her in the preceding letter. 



24 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

those marked for private spiritual reading may be read in 
the refectory ; do as you see tit. 

Love Jesus and Mary, love them with all your heart, for 
they reveal themselves to those that strive to know them. 

Love and be happy; he who loves so good a God 
should never allow dark and gloomy thoughts to enter his 
heart. Hence I do not wish to see you omit the recreation 
for any reason whatever; and if anything should ever 
happen to disturb the joy and harmony of recreation (which 
I hope will never be the case), let each do her utmost to 
restore cheerfulness and peace. 

Ah! my dear daughters, if you only knew how Jesus 
loves you, how he always thinks of you and of your welfare, 
you could no longer live, no, you would die through the 
intensity of your love. If, then, you do not die of love, 
live for love; become fools for the love of Jesus, sigh after 
and desire that adorable Spouse who is so worthy of all our 
love. You have chosen him from among all for your 
Spouse ; but he had already chosen you from all eternity to 
be his beloved spouses. Of whom then will you dare to 
think, if not of Jesus? whom can you love, if not Jesus? 
Oh, give all your thoughts and affections to Jesus ! give 
them to him without reserve, and he will become entirely 
yours. 

Always have a great devotion to Mamma Mary : in order 
to induce her to favor you ; love her, praise her, honor 
her; let her sweet name be ever on your lips. Believe me, 
she loves you most tenderly. Show yourselves grateful by 
corresponding to her love. Devotion to Mary is a sure 
pledge of Paradise. 

And now do not forget me; I assure you I do not ask 
you as a mere matter of form to pray for me to Jesus and 
Mary : I speak from my heart and mean what I say. Yes, 
pray for me, as you have promised, especially after holy 
Communion that I mav always do the will of God ; and 



1732. j Letter j. 25 

when you pray for me, do not forget my poor penitent, to 
whom I have already promised your prayers. We shall 
remember you in our prayers. 

Assist me in this storm, where I am in continual danger 
of losing my God. 

But you will never lose him, no, never, whilst you are 
his and he is yours. Do you wish for more? I believe 
that God can be sufficient for you. 

May Jesus, Joseph, and Mary be praised and blessed for 
all eternity ! 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, a vile sinner. 

After the original which is in the possession of Mgr. Raffaele 
Carbone, at Naples. 

LETTER 3. 

To the Benedictine Nuns of Polignano. 

(IN PfGMA.) 

He congratulates them on having been freed, through the 
assistance of the Blessed Virgin, from the molestations of the 
demons, and exhorts them to show their gratitude. 

[NAPT.KS, September 19, 1732.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

My beloved daughters in Jesus and Mary: Our Lord 
knows the consolation that your affectionate letter, informing 
me of the favor received from Mary, afforded me. I read 
it to the Superior of the Congregation, l Canon Torni, and 
he has retained it in order to read it before the assembled 
Congregation . Beginning with to-day , you must love 
Mary with new fervor, in a new manner. On Saturdays let 
each one do something more than usual one by increasing 
the number of her vocal prayers and her acts of love, and 

I This Congregation referred to was an association of diocesan 
missionaries, called the association of apostolic missions, of which St. 
Alphonsus was always a member. 



26 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

another by seeking out new mortifications and sufferings. 
In order to commemorate this grace and to prevent all new 
attacks of the demons, have some devotion performed every 
day either one in honor of the sorrows of Jesus or some 
other suitable devotion; for if you show yourselves un 
grateful, the demons may return. And let a common fast 
on bread and water for those who are able to observe it be 
strictly kept on the anniversary of that memorable day, the 
1 3th of August. But the greatest pleasure you can give to 
Mary is to love Jesus devotedly, who has granted this 
favor in order to be more loved by you. Think that Jesus, 
that Prisoner of love, has passed so many lonely nights 
without being visited by you, prevented as you were by 
your fear of the beast. Now that you are free you must 
make up for lost time. I ask the abbess to be kind enough 
to grant permission to all those Sisters who may wish to 
pray at night before their Spouse in the Blessed Sacrament. 
I beg her also to promote frequent Communion in order 
that the poor panting hinds may quench their thirst at the 
fountain of that dear Saviour who is the only love of our 
hearts. If any one should desire to communicate daily, I 
beg the abbess to offer no opposition ; let her not scruple 
to give permission as often as the confessor gives his consent. 
One Communion is at times worth more than a year of 
prayer. If any one should remain imperfect, and should 
show no signs of wishing to amend, it would be well to 
deprive her of holy Communion. 

Now I wish you to recommend me to Jesus and Mary 
with the greatest fervor every day, for that important 
matter, 1 tending to the greater glory of God, of which I 
have already spoken to you, is about to be settled. As 

1 Reference is here made to the foundation of the Congregation 
of the Most Holy Saviour, which in the year 1749 received the 
approbation of Benedict XIV., under the title of the Congregation 
of the Most Holy Redeemer. 



1732.] Letter 4. 27 

soon as it has been decided I shall let you know, for you 
have assisted me greatly by your prayers ; but you must 
still continue to aid me. Offer up a holy Communion at 
least every week for the success of this project, in order 
that all may be done for the greater glory of God. 

I never forget you ; I recommend you to Jesus Christ 
very often during the day. Greet Monsignor for me (for I 
congratulate him also on the favor received), and your 
Father Confessor ; ask him to pray for me. Live Jesus, 
Joseph, Mary, and Teresa! The feast of my dear St. 
Teresa is at hand ; celebrate a no vena or at least a triduum. 
Tell Sister Maria Francesca not to forget her agreement, as 
I do not forget it; please say the same to Sister Maria 
Agnes. 

A miserable sinner and most tender Father. 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After the original preserved in the monastery of the Bene 
dictine Nuns at Polignano. 

LETTER 4. 

To Toramaso Falcoia, Bishop of Castellammare, his 
Spiritual Director. 

He entreats Falcoia to give him permission to leave Naples 
in order that he may found the Institute of the Most Holy 
Saviour at Scala. 

[October, 1732.] 

My dear Father, for charity s sake, make haste, for I am 
dying with the desire to set out ; send for me immediately, 
withdraw the command that binds me to Naples. Don 
Giovanni Battista l [di Donato] is also energetic and zealous. 
See what obstacles the devil is throwing up to prevent the 
speedy beginning of our work ! Let us begin immediately, 
for they amount to nothing ; all will succeed admirably. 

1 This priest was one of the first companions of St. Alphonsus. 



28 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

This is the second last day of the spiritual exercises, and I 
am to speak on our Mamma Mary. Pray for me constantly, 
yes, constantly; again, make haste, make haste, for the 
glory and praise of Jesus and Mary. 1 

Quoted by Tannoia, "Life of St. Alphonsus," Book i. 
Chapter xx. 

1 Our readers will thank us for giving here a sketch of the life 
of Mgr. Falcoia, the holy prelate and zealous apostle, whose name 
occurs so often in the following letters. He was born on the i6th 
of May, 1663. Having spent his youth happily in the acquisition 
of virtue, and in the study of the humanities, he felt himself drawn 
to a life of perfection. Following the advice of that venerable anil 
saintly man, Antonio Torres, he at the age of twenty turned his 
back upon the world, and dedicated himself entirely to God and to 
the salvation of souls in the zealous Congregation of the Pious 
Workers. 

. Scarcely ordained priest, he was considered worthy to be sent to 
Rome in company with that great servant of God, Ludovico Sabba- 
tini, in order to found there the first house of the Institute. He 
spent there twenty years, carrying out many works conducive to the 
glory of God, and to the salvation of souls. After his return to 
Naples, he was called upon to fill the highest and most difficult 
offices of the Congregation which he did with the greatest care and 
diligence, working, however, at the same time as a fervent and 
untiring missionary. Here too, as in Rome, and wherever he 
appeared, he drew all hearts to himself by the odor of his virtues. 
His spirit of prayer, of mortification, his zeal for the salvation 
of souls, and, above all, his earnest desire to copy as closely as 
possible the example of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, endeared him 
to all who knew him. 

God now wished to place this great light upon the candlestick, to 
illumine the Church ; he was accordingly selected to rule the diocese 
of Castellammare, which position he retained up to the day of his 
death ; all his thoughts were concentrated upon the discharge of his 
duties by word and deed, God aiding and confirming his works by- 
signs and wonders as frequent as they were extraordinary. 

But the greatest glory of Falcoia was to have been chosen by God 
to form and guide the illustrious Apostle and Doctor of modern 
times, St. Alphonsus. In fact, the saint had him as director from 
the 24th of August 1732 to the end of Falcoia s life, and he 



Letter 5. 29 



LETTER 5. 
To the Same. 

He relates to him his troubles, and conjures him not to 
abandon him. 

[At the beginning of March, 1733.] 

Canon Torni has written to me that the Con 
gregation has decided to take from me the chaplaincy, and 

surrendered himself so entirely into his hands that he hound himself 
by vow to obey him. He depended on him in everything, especially 
in the foundation of the Institute, and in the manifold contradictions 
to which the work gave rise. The fatherly solicitude of the loving 
and prudent director was equal to the filial confidence of his disciple. 
He consoled St. Alphonsus in all his afflictions, and inspired him 
with courage, telling him that though the Congregation was as yet 
as small as a grain of mustard seed, yet the time would come when 
it would be spread throughout the world. 

We shall select only a few among many beautiful instances of 
this. On the 3ist of July, 1733, he wrote to St. Alphonsus : " Happy 
we who have been selected, for we by our humiliations, fatigue and 
suffering have to bear the triumphal chariot of divine glory through 
the whole world. Clreat courage then, my dear Alphonsus! 

Scalpri salubris ictibus 

Et tunsione plurima, 

Fabri polita malleo 

Hanc saxa molem construunt." 

[Many a blow and biting sculpture 
Polished well those stones elect, 
In their places now compacted 
By the heavenly architect.] 

On the 28th of July, of the following year, he wrote the following 
words: " Do not trouble yourself about anything else, neither about 
the work, nor about yourself who have been chosen by the divine 
Majesty as the principal instrument for the erection of the new 
edifice, and for carrying his name among the peoples and king 
doms." He expressed the very same sentiments on his deathbed 
when in a spirit of prophecy he said of the new Congregation : This 
isork comes from God, and it will spread like the flowers of the field. 



3O General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

to deprive me of membership ; ! but the Cardinal has or 
dained that nothing should be done in this matter without 
his command. 2 I have written to his Eminence expressing 
to him my thanks, and also to the Canon ; the latter tells 
me that he could not do anything more in my behalf. 

my Father ! how painful it is for me to associate with 
D. Vincenzo [Mannarini]. 8 I have experienced this these 
past days, and it is only the love of Jesus Christ that can 
render such a situation possible 

1 thank God for the strength that he gives me to endure 
these storms (and what is worse my domestic storms), so 
that I may resist and may not lose courage. This is what 
I have gained for myself after having, as every one knows, 
renounced so much, incurring thereby the displeasure of my 
family, of my friends, and of the archbishop, upon whom I 
have turned my back to please God. Still you encourage 
me to put my confidence in God, even though all my 
companions should desert me. Ah, my Father, do not 
abandon me ! for without you what could I do ? Command, 
and I will obey 

I send you a plan of the Rules, which we have agreed 

upon. Have pity on me 

Quoted by Tannoia, Book ii. Chapters iii. and iv. 

Shortly after he departed this life with every mark of sanctity, and 
predestination on the 2Oth of April, 1743. 

We possess more than one hundred letters written by Falcoia to 
St. Alphonsus, but very few of those written by the saint to his 
director. There is good reason to believe that when these letters 
passed into the hands of St. Alphonsus after the death of Falcoia, he 
destroyed them in a spirit of humility. 

1 The saint was a member of the Congregation of the Apostolic 
Missions, which, as a reward for his indefatigable labors, had given 
him a chaplaincy. 

% The Congregation disapproving of the saint s undertaking had 
decided upon his expulsion. 

3 One of his first companions, who opposed his Rule and his work 
in order to embrace a new Institute. 



I733-] Letter 6. 3 1 



LETTER 6. 

To Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa, 1 Nun of the Congregation 
of the Most Holy Saviour at Scala. 

Sorrow which he feels at seeing her so deficient in humility. 
He excuses himself for having reprimanded her rather harshly. 

[The month of March, 1733.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Celeste, I am answering your last letter, which I received 
at the same time as that of Mgr. Falcoia, and I tell you 
that if you are right I am not wrong ; for I have not been 
able to banish from my mind the message of Don Vincenzo 
[Mannarini], and what was said by Don Silvestro [Tosquez]. 
When they arrive you may ask them. Still 1 believe that 
the Lord has permitted all this to happen for our greater 
good ; judging from w r hat Monsignor writes to me and from 
what I hear of Don Silvestro, affairs are now in the very 
best condition . The latter continues to remain on in 
timate terms as formerly. There is, however, one thorn 

1 Maria Celeste Crostarosa was born at Naples, October n, 1697. 
It was she who, in consequence of a revelation, suggested to St. 
Alphonsus the plan for the foundation of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Saviour. Falling under the influence of Don Vincenzo 
Mannarini , and especially of Don Silvestro Tosquez , after the 
foundation of the Institute, she began to withdraw from the spiritual 
guidance of Mgr. Falcoia. She, moreover, began to entertain certain 
ideas with regard to the establishment of a Rule entirely at variance 
with those held by St. Alphonsus and by Mgr. Falcoia himself. 
In conseqence of this, Providence permitted her to be dismissed 
from the convent. After leaving Scala, she reformed a conservatory 
of maidens at Nocera. Having been called to Foggia, she founded 
there another conservatory for the daughters of the nobility, which 
is at present, under the title of the Most Holy Saviour, a source 
of great edification for that town. She died with the reputation 
of heroic virtue, September 14, 1755, and her body remained in a 
wonderful state of preservation for many years. 



32 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

that pierces my heart and causes me great anguish : it 
deprives me too of my night s sleep, and it is, my dear 
Celeste, the thought of you. I see that during this trouble 
between us you have not uttered one sentiment breathing 
humility. 

Especially in your last letter I noticed how you address 
me and how you sign yourself; I perceived, too, how little 
you care whether I believe you or not; now, do not tell me 
that you are praying to God for me, as if I were already a 
reprobate, and that you end your letter: I remain in the 
Heart of Jesus. My dear Celeste, could the most imperfect 
soul write in a different tone ? I know that you bear me no 
ill-will ; but judging from the altered style of your letter, it 
appears to me that you do retain some ill-feeling towards 
me. I do not say that I deserve to see you humble 
yourself before me ; I confess that I am not worthy even to 
sit at your feet, for I know your life and I know my own. 
But I do not on this account despair of loving Jesus as you 
do ; He will grant me this in his infinite mercy. What I 
wish to say is that I should like to see in a soul so united 
with God and so favored by him, as is your soul, the 
profoundest humility; for the greater our humility is, the 
more intimate is our union with God : the one is ever in 
proportion to the other. Humility, however, does not 
consist at all in saying : / am a wretch^ I deserve much 
worse than this; no, it consists in having a low opinion 
of one s self, and in knowing how to humble one s self most 
before him who most despises us. I would have desired 
this humility for you, even though I should have had 
reason to ask for other things ; but up to the present time 
I have not seen it in you, and this is the thorn that torments 
me. Understand now that this is the secret cause of my 
affliction and the reason why I could not approve of your 
conduct, as I wrote to the Mother Superior before receiving 
your letter. 



I733-J Letter 6. 33 

It is true I may have written harshly, and perhaps too 
harshly , but I did so relying on past experience ; for 
whenever, heretofore, I addressed you in that manner, it 
resulted in great profit for your soul. For it is always 
salutary for a soul favored by God to meet with humili 
ations ; and the more you experience from me, the more 
nearly you approach that which Christ has marked out for 
you. You may rest assured I have done everything for a 
good purpose ; I feel no remorse for what I have done, for 
I really believed that your naturally high spirit, relying on 
its own judgment, deserved to be treated in this manner for 
its own good, and to cause it to be submissive in all things. 
I do not speak here of your will (for, as I have already 
written to you, I have not condemned you on account 
of your will, but rather for having followed your own 
judgment). Besides, it appeared to me that I had hitherto 
effected nothing with kind words. Understand now that 
in matters that relate to the welfare of the Institute I 
can quickly rid myself of your intrigues by laying the 
whole matter before Falcoia ; however, I have not done so, 
as it appears to me to be a species of treachery to reveal 
the situation to Falcoia, when I myself, though troubled 
and disgusted, can apply the remedy by writing to you. 
You cannot imagine what great pain it causes me to treat 
any one harshly, especially as I believe that more may be 
done by gentleness than by harshness. 

If, perchance, through want of reflection and through 
indiscreet zeal, I have gone beyond the bounds of moder 
ation, and you consequently feel yourself offended, I beg 
your pardon now and always, and beseech you to pardon 
me expressly. If I were allowed, I would kiss your feet a 
thousand times for having so treated a beloved spouse of 
Jesus Christ; if Mgr. Falcoia gives me permission, I will 
beg your pardon publicly, before all. But still I want to 
see you as humble as I wish you to be. 
3 



34 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

And is my soul, then, of so much importance to you? >1 
Ah, my dear Celeste, do not speak in that strain to me, 
for it sounds like great ingratitude : the union of our souls 
in Jesus Christ is too intimate for that. Do you not know 
that the interests of your soul have become mine? And 
this is not my work, but God s work ; I must desire the 
same perfection for you that I wish to obtain for myself. 

.1 am seeking for reasons to excuse you, and to calm my 
alarm at seeing your want of humility, and I am trying to 
flatter myself that you have not considered this matter 
sufficiently. Perhaps you have a very good end in view in 
treating me thus ; but the thorn still continues to torment 
me. If during this time you have had a good end in view, 
I beg you to let me know it as quickly as possible, and 
thus to allay my fears. 

On my part, I promise to make a special memento for 
you every day at Mass until I become calm ; I began this 
morning, and I prayed very hard to our Lord that he 
might grant you perfect humility. And you must ask the 
same for me from Jesus Christ, that I may no longer resist 
the allurements of God, who wishes to have me entirely 
his. I have resisted only too often in the past ; that time is 
gone; I wish with all my heart to give myself entirely, yes 
entirely, to Jesus Christ, and I desire the same for you; but 
without humility neither you nor I shall attain anything. 
Henceforward, study to mortify me in every possible way, 
and this you should do the more readily in order not 
to allow me to suspect that you are disgusted . Don 
Silvestro Tosquez is coming ; I hope that all will redound 
to the glory of God. I do not call you daughter that 
you may not think I am arrogating to myself what is not 
mine. 

Praised be Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

My dear Celeste, it is not true that I said that Don 

1 The Sister had written to the saint these cutting remarks. 



I733.J Letter 7. 35 

Silvestro is deceived; I do not remember ever having 
spoken those words. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 7. 
To the same Sister. 

He explains the conditions under which the new Institute 
can prosper ; he reproves her for withdrawing from the spirit 
ual guidance of Mgr. Falcoia, and points out the dangers that 
threaten her on this account. 

[End of March, 1733.] 

Praised be Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
Celeste, my beloved Sister in Jesus Christ and our Mother 
Mary, I had asked you not to answer me; but since you 
have thought fit to honor me with an answer, I beg you to 
read this letter and then follow the inspiration of God. But 
read it with resignation, without seeking for a reply to what 
you read ; for if you read with an inclination to contradict, 
you will find an abundance of reasons for replying, but you 
will never discover the truth. Heretics have found reasons 
for opposing the Church, even against holy Scripture. 
Read then, I pray you, this letter, and spend three days in 
prayer entirely resigned and with the most perfect indiffer 
ence, without writing to me or without so much as noting 
down anything for an answer ; then do as you please. 

And now, since you require fidelity from me, I ask the 
same of you; I do not allow you to show this letter 
of mine or to mention its contents to any one neither to 
Don Silvestro nor to others. You already believe that I 
know all ; and so if you really desire not to be defended 
and praised before men, but to please God by investigating 
the truth in order to embrace it, allow me, my dear Sister 
Celeste, to speak frankly and to place the truth before you. 
I seek nothing but the glory of God and the welfare of your 



36 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

soul, which I so ardently desire. Let us separate the inter 
ests of your soul from those of the Institute. 

And now let us speak of the affairs of your soul. Tell 
me, Celeste, why have you left Mgr. Falcoia, who is so 
saintly and so enlightened, as you yourself have often told 
me? You know that God himself has given him to you as 
your director; he has guided you so admirably for many 
years, that, prostrate on the ground, you ought unceasingly 
to return thanks to God and to him. What defect have 
you now perceived in him ? Has he perhaps cast you into 
an abyss? Have you left him because he disturbed you by 
humbling and thwarting you? But, my dear Sister, do 
you not see that this course is absolutely necessary to con 
quer your high spirit, and to prevent you from becoming 
attached to your own judgment? This is a fault that was 
perceived in you not only by Mgr. Falcoia, but also by 
Don Bartolomeo Carace, 1 and by others who were acquainted 
with you. It is a fault, of which St. Philip Neri has said 
that there can be nothing more dangerous in the spiritual 
life ; and St. John Chrysostom assures us that there is more 
danger for a saint in following such a course than for any 
other person. Another saint tells us that he who confides 
in himself has no need of demons to tempt him. Who has 
approved of the step you have taken in leaving Falcoia? 
Have you perhaps received lights from God? Are the 
effects, that joyous calmness, etc., sufficient signs of the 
correctness of your step? And who has approved of these 
lights and of this sense of security and peace? Is it that 
penitent who for eight years labored under a delusion 
which, judged by its good effects, seemed to her confessor 
to be from God, and which was afterwards discovered by 
Father Collelis, as we read in his life, to be nothing else but 
a delusion ? 

1 Don Bartolomeo Carace had been the first spiritual director 
of the nun. 



I733-] Letter j. 37 

The most experienced and cautious masters of the spiritual 
life can be deceived on this point, and you wish to have 
certainty in the matter by taking counsel with yourself? 
But has perhaps Don Silvestro [Tosquez] given his ap 
probation ? If you suspect Falcoia because he has humbled 
you, you have greater reason to mistrust the judgment 
of Don Silvestro, who, as you know, places you above St. 
Teresa, and sings your praises everywhere, even at Vienna. 1 
He approves of everything, even of his entire dependence 
on you a thing, which above all others, a spiritual director 
should guard against, if he wishes to guide a soul properly 
and to keep it humble. 

O my dear Celeste ! how Don Silvestro has caused you 
to lose the spirit of humility ! how he has aided you in 
wedding yourself, so to speak, to your own judgment ! 
See to what lengths you have gone, asserting openly in 
your convent that one is not obliged to obey a command 
of the Superior given sub mortali under pain of mortal 
sin! My Celeste, what Doctor ever taught such nonsense 
- that it is not a mortal sin for one who has made the vow 
of obedience to disobey the command of a Superior in a 
grave matter? By a grave matter we are to understand 
either a great evil or something that may have evil con 
sequences ; we must always suppose this, for the Superior 
before giving a command examines the matter carefully. 
It savors too much of arrogance when a woman who has 
made no studies wishes to contradict in this matter those 
whom the Church has placed over us as teachers. 

Ah ! where is that Celeste whom I knew of old ? How 
has this ruin been effected ? Oh ! I feel the pangs of death 
whenever I think of this. Who has so fascinated you? 
Where is that former prompt and edifying obedience to 
Superiors ? Where is that beautiful spirit of humility which 

1 Don Silvestro Tosquez had a brother who filled a very high 
position at the Imperial Court of Vienna. 

3* 



38 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

caused you to desire to be trodden under foot and despised 
by all? 

Now, however, having abandoned, as it were, the practice 
of obedience, you are endeavoring to gain the esteem and 
approval of all, under the vain pretence of seeking the 
glory of God. God stands in no need of your self-defence to 
promote his glory. When he sees you truly humble, and 
the more he sees you humbled, the more readily will he 
undertake to defend you and your work. You already 
understand what I mean. 

Let me tell you that Don Silvestro, whose fine teaching 
on obedience perhaps it is which you have followed, in 
matters of doctrine is wrong-headed, and very much so. I 
have heard him say that on the fasting days of the Church 
people are not allowed to eat until about three o clock, and 
that the customary collation in the evening cannot be taken 
- thus presuming to condemn so many religious Orders 
and so many saintly men who practised the contrary. He 
has given utterance to other false doctrines in points of 
Moral Theology which I shall not mention here. It is 
sufficient to know that he had the boldness to assert, as you 
perhaps have already heard, that all who were under the 
spiritual direction of Falcoia were damned. Hence it is 
certain that the vision that induced you to leave Falcoia 
was a delusion, and if you consulted a thousand unbiassed 
theologians they would all tell you the very same thing, 
although it should have sufficed for you when Falcoia, who 
was at that time your spiritual director, pronounced it to be 
such. Tell me, Celeste, was it possible that your vision 
could be an illusion ? At least you ought to have a reason 
able doubt about it when a St. Teresa, in the account that 
she gives us of her visions, writes of herself that she never 
believed so firmly that it was God who had spoken that she 
could have sworn to it, even though it were asserted by 
others. And for this reason, as she says in the same place, 



1733- J Letter 7. 39 

she never did anything in consequence of light received in 
prayer, but always consulted her confessors ; if at times they 
told her the contrary of that which she had heard from our 
Lord, she obeyed instantly and executed it. 

She acted in this manner especially at the time of the 
foundation of a house at Malagone j 1 for God had at first 
revealed to her that the monasteries were to be founded 
without revenues, but her confessor told her the contrary. 
She obeyed, and our Lord afterwards showed his approval 
of her obedience. 

And now let us suppose a reasonable doubt which you 
have concerning the vision, and which you ought to have, 
if you wish to walk securely: in whose judgment should 
you place more reliance than in that of your spiritual director, 
unless you really wish to disregard that beautiful order 
of obedience which Jesus Christ has left in his Church to 
make known to us his holy will? You reveal the vision to 
your director ; he tells you it is a delusion, and you do the 
contrary! Tell me, would St. Teresa have acted in that 
manner ? And you do a very great wrong to Father Falcoia, 
who was at one time so dear to you, if you say that this 
saintly man, through partiality, advised you to act against 
the will of God, and thus betrayed his conscience. When 
it is not clear and evident that our spiritual director speaks 
through passion, we must obey him. Falcoia is partial, and 
Don Silvestro is not so? Celeste, give this great pleasure 
to God leave Don Silvestro. I know that you will have 
to do great violence to yourself, but the greater the violence, 
the greater will also be the stride towards perfection. Tell 
me, if God wishes you to leave Don Silvestro, are you 
willing to make the sacrifice? But God does not wish it, 
you say. Ah ! my beloved Celeste in Jesus Christ, who 
does clearly not see that you are deluded, and what is by 
far worse, voluntarily so ! I know not what excuse you will 
1 Chap. x. Foundations. 



40 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

have for Jesus Christ on the day of judgment, after hearing 
the truth from so many persons. To this you will perhaps 
reply: That is my affair. Well, then, let us pass to the 
other point the affairs of the Institute. 

It is certain that the rules 1 noted down by you need a 
thousand and one explanations. Do you not yourself re 
member telling me when I first went to the convent that 
Falcoia acted wisely in sifting the divine elements from the 
human, as there were many things in the rules which owed 
their origin to self-will ? You moreover agreed to this with 
regard to the Institute for men, when before the opening 
of the foundation I went to Scala to call upon you; we 
canvassed the matter and came to an agreement. Besides 
the numerous explanations of the rules, there are many 
other points and constitutions which are to be treated se 
parately, as, for example, the schools,- the missions, the 
houses of studies, the different exercises to be given by us^ 
the occupations which are permitted or prohibited, the 
academies, the meetings, etc. The missions and schools 
alone require two separate little books to establish the order 
which is henceforward to be followed, so that the same 
observance may ever flourish in the Congregation. 

Now, who is to give these explanations and constitutions? 
Don Vincenzo [Mannarini] and I have no practical ex 
perience of Community life ; I am moreover an ignoramus. 
Don Silvestro [Tosquez] is less practical than w r e. Don 
Giovanni Battista 3 [di Donate] still retains an affection for 

1 The Sister had written various rules , which she said were 
revealed to her by Jesus Christ. 

2 At this period St. Alphonsus and Mgr. Falcoia intended to com 
bine the work of the missions with that of the schools. 

3 Don Giovanni Battista di Donato, before joining St. Alphonsus, 
had been a member of a recently founded Congregation at Teano 
which he afterwards, in company with Don Vincenzo Mannarini and 
Silvestro Tosquez, again entered. The Congregation then took the 
name of the Most Holy Sacrament. 



I733-] Letter 7. 4 1 

his old Rule ; hence, as you know, he is resolutely opposed 
to the recitation of Office in choir a point which is so 
essential. In short, he would like to introduce among us 
his old Rule. Furthermore, if we should leave Falcoia in 
order to agree among ourselves upon the rules, Don Sil- 
vestro would most certainly wish to play the role of director 
and of infallible interpreter of your revelations, not only 
of the past, but also of your future visions. He has been 
accustomed hitherto to play the teacher and not the disciple, 
and woe to the man who should dare to contradict him in 
this matter, as experience has shown me that he wishes to 
rule in everything. And if, scarcely having entered the 
monastery, he undertook as a secular the guidance of several 
Sisters who now, according to their own confession, behold 
themselves emerging from a pit after leaving his spiritual 
direction; if, I say, having but entered, he wished that 
permission should be obtained from him when a letter was 
to be written to Falcoia what breach would he not effect 
between us, if we should forsake Falcoia? What happened 
to those Sisters, my dear Celeste, ought to be a lesson for 
you. I already believe that it would be your aim after we 
should have left Falcoia to induce us all to follow Don 
Silvestro blindly as an oracle, and to depend on him entirely, 
as you do. If it were God s will I would do so, but at 
present I do not feel that inspiration. Let us return to the 
conversation about ourselves. 

The only way to establish anything on a solid basis is to 
place ourselves entirely in the hands of one man, and 
having communicated to him our ideas, to follow blindly his 
counsels and directions. He must be a man of experience, 
with a practical knowledge of Community life, missions, and 
other spiritual exercises; he must be well versed in the 
sciences necessary for a missionary, a man of enlightened 
spirit, and finally, one who will solve all doubts and quest 
ions without appeal. In this manner charity and unity will 



42 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

be the better preserved among us, for they are, as you 
yourself say, and as I have so often repeated, in fact ad 
nauseam, necessary for us to guide our little bark aright. 
And tell me, what Rule of religious Order or Congregation 
was not established in this way, that is, by depending 
entirely on one director ? I had at first a doubt whether 
this was the case in the Reform of St. Teresa, when doubts 
arose concerning the Rule of St. Albert which had been 
adopted by the saint. Afterwards, however, I discovered 
that although the first companions of St. Teresa were holy 
men, experienced in Community life, the Reform was on 
the verge of destruction because they did not follow one 
director ; so great a diversity of observances was introduced 
in consequence of this that the saint feared that the Reform 
would suffer shipwreck. At last, Father Graziano having 
visited the houses of the Reform, and having found a differ 
ent observance in each one, drew up the constitutions him 
self, as we find them to-day in the chronicles ; these con 
stitutions were then adopted by all. 

Thus, I say, to establish the Rule and Institute firmly, it 
is necessary for us to place ourselves entirely in the hands 
of one experienced guide, as well because we ourselves are 
not fit, as because this way is easy and safe one which is 
followed by all religious Orders. Again, such a course will 
serve to maintain unity among us. Otherwise there will 
never be that perfect harmony among us ; for, on the one 
hand, we should have unceasingly to discuss our mutual 
pretensions, and on the other hand, the formation of the 
rules would go on indefinitely, amid continual jarring and 
wrangling. 

But, you say, to obviate all this, one should yield to the 
other. My dear Celeste, this is impossible. It would be 
possible and all very well, if there were question here 
of honors, of comforts, in short, of indifferent things; but 
when there is question of matters pertaining to the glory 



I733-J Letter 7. 43 

of God, no one, unless bound by obedience and by the 
promise to abide by the decisions of one director, is ready 
to yield in points which he believes to be for the greater 
glory of God. And this experience itself would teach you, 
as it has taught me up to the present moment, for we have 
not been able to agree even in unimportant things. Hence, 
we must always yes, always have one to whom we 
can refer our doubts for solution ; every man who has the 
use of his reason and who is not crack-brained will recognize 
the truth of this. Why, your Don Vincenzo only lately 
told me the very same thing himself. 

You will say : Place yourself at the disposal of your 
present Superior} I venerate Father Superior, and know 
that I have to obey him in the rules already established ; 
but I never have had the intention to follow any rules which 
Don Giovanni Battista might make. I will obey only in 
that which Mgr. Falcoia ordains, for he is my director and 
the director of the whole work. My Sister, let me tell you 
once for all that I have not entered the Institute to becoire 
its head and director, or to take precedence in anything, as 
you seem to insinuate, or to please men. You yourself can 
remember that when Falcoia begged me to use my influence 
with Guerriero 2 to obtain the approbation of your rules, I 
told him plainly and frankly that he would have to excuse 
me, as it was against the obedience which was due to my 
director at that time. I tell you that I have come here 
solely to obey God, and I hope never to leave, no matter 
how great the solicitations and importunities of men may 
be. I have just been implored to return to Naples. I beg 
you to understand that in so acting I am not following your 
revelations, as I told you in the very beginning. I am 
travelling only the well-beaten and secure road of obedience 

1 By the advice of Alphonsus Don Giovanni Battista di Donato 
had become Superior of the new Community of Scala. 

2 Nicola Guerriero was Bishop of Scala. 



44 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

to my spiritual guides, where, as Jesus Christ has promised 
us, we are sure to ascertain the will of God, and this, as 
the masters of the spiritual life tell us, he has not attached 
to all the revelations in the world. St. Teresa in particular 
says in chapter 10 of the Foundations, that we ought in this 
life to place ourselves unreservedly in the hands of a guide, 
be he Superior or Confessor, relying entirely on the truth 
of these words : Qui vos audit, me audit he who hears you, 
hears me. For, as she adds, our Lord esteems this submission 
so highly that although what is commanded appears to be 
utterly absurd, by overcoming ourselves and obeying our 
Superiors we succeed in fulfilling the will of God most 
perfectly. 

Now you know that I have surrendered myself entirely 
into the hands of Falcoia, and so I hope to live and die 
under the yoke of obedience. If you choose to follow 
another route, good-bye till we meet again, at the place for 
which you are striving. If I follow the beck of obedience, 
I shall certainly sanctify myself; but as you have left your 
guide, I do not know whether you will become a saint. I 
tell you that I have no intention of deserting Falcoia, even 
though all if such a thing were possible should place 
themselves entirely in my hands. Do you not see that it is 
far better to give up one s vocation, than to give up the 
practice of obedience that is, if a true vocation could 
exist without obedience. To conclude, I am content to 
leave the Institute and to practise obedience rather than 
remain in the Institute and give up obedience. I am aware 
that St. Philip Neri thought more of a soul that walked the 
ordinary w r ay of obedience than of another who, following its 
own will, did great things for the glory of God. Let me also 
tell you that when doubts caused by what I now know 
of you arise in my mind whether your former lights were 
not also delusions (for it is certain that all the lights and 
visions confirming you in your obstinacy, which you say 



I733-J 



Letter 7. 45 



you enjoy, are illusions, as Falcoia wrote you, and as every 
one can see), I encourage myself with the thought that in 
this matter I am not following your revelations, but I am 
practising obedience to my spiritual director. And thus, 
even if all your visions were delusions, I am walking secure 
ly in holy obedience, and I cannot take a wrong step in my 
vocation. 

But to return to ourselves. Let us suppose, then, that a 
man must be selected to settle all doubts and present dif 
ficulties. Don Vincenzo says that we should choose some 
one else, not Falcoia ! But, I ask, why must we choose 
some other person and not Falcoia, unless we wish to make 
the choice under the influence of passion? As for Falcoia, 
we have received only too many signs from God, showing 
that he is the man dest ned to regulate the work. The fact 
that he was your confessor would be sufficient of itself to 
show this ; for as your confessor, it was his duty, and no 
one else s, to explain and approve of your lights and visions 
just as the confessor of St. Teresa who guided her in the 
matter of the revelation with regard to the Reform, directed 
the whole work of the Reform. Besides, we have the 
testimony of Sister Maria Colomba T who wrote to me in the 
beginning (I have just re-read her letter): "I understood 
that the divine Majesty wishes to have you as head of the 
Institute, dependent, however, on his beloved son, Tommaso 
[Falcoia] ; for the divine Majesty has chosen him as the 
principal head to regulate this great work." Colomba, 
then, wrote to me that she had heard this from our Lord 
on several occasions. But then Colomba may be under a 
delusion? And Celeste, I maintain, can be in the same 
state. To tell the truth, I look upon you both as saints ; 
but as there is question here of delusions under which our 
Lord at times permits holy souls to labor, as we know from 

1 She was a nun at Scala, and had received many supernatural 
favors. 



46 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

the life of Sister Maria Serafina of Capri and of others, why 
should I believe Colomba, and not you, to be deluded, 
especially when I behold her travelling the safe road of 
obedience, presenting in this respect so great a contrast to 
you ? You yourself wrote to me several times that we must 
depend on Falcoia in this work. In a letter which, if you 
wish I shall send to you, for our Lord, not without good 
reason, inspired me to preserve it, you express yourself 
in the following terms: "Give yourself no more trouble; 
leave everything to the judgment of our Father whom God 
has placed over the work, and on whom all should depend." 
What follows is only a confirmation of the above-quoted 
passage. Now you will say, / have received contrary 
directions. And who, pray, approves of these blessed 
lights? Have I perhaps to believe what you tell me now, 
and not what you have told me in the past ? Lastly, you 
must remember, my dear Celeste, that Falcoia, as far as 
the Institute is concerned, has not followed exclusively your 
revelations, but has consulted the lights and revelations 
of others, and in the first place those which he himself 
received from God, before he made your acquaintance. 
For this reason he has fur many years been endeavoring to 
establish an Institute of this kind, both at Naples and at 
Rome, following above all the light of the Gospel, which is 
worth more than your combined lights yours and Falcoia s. 
But setting aside those supernatural elements, we should 
adopt the course I propose, since we see at least that it is 
the shortest and safest way to establish the rules and to 
preserve union and harmony ; now if this be the case, why 
not select Falcoia? Before Don Silvestro appeared upon 
the scene, we had in fact already chosen Falcoia: for his 
name was ever in our mouths; to him we always had 
recourse in our difficulties ; he is a man of many years 
experience, of an enlightened spirit, learned, with a practical 
knowledge of Community life , of missions , and finally 



Letter 7. 47 

of secular matters ; in short, it would be difficult to find 
many who possess in so high a degree as he all those 
qualities that are necessary for the regulation of this great 
work. Or is there perhaps an express revelation that God 
wishes us to depend upon any one but Falcoia? 

Ah ! my God, what a terrible hallucination you have 
been laboring under , Celeste ! This happens when an 
enlightened soul through some fault of her own falls into a 
delusion ; this I make bold to say of you, and I add that a 
miracle on the part of God is necessary to open your eyes 
to the light. See how disunited we are, and know that you 
are the cause of this disunion. Celeste, I am speaking 
to you in the name of God, consider well that you by 
your obstinacy are devoting to destruction a work that is 
not yours, but God s. True it is that neither you nor all 
the men in the world can ruin the work of God if he wills to 
prevent it; I am inclined to think that if you remain stiff- 
necked, our Lord will aid us only the more, for when there 
shall be no longer any talk about lights and revelations, we 
shall the more easily obtiin the approbation of Rome. But 
as for you, if you appear before Jesus Christ burdened with 
the charge of having tried to ruin his work, what will 
become of your poor soul ? If I be excluded from the Institute, 
as you keep repeating, I confess that I deserve to be ex 
cluded and am content, provided I am allowed to practise 
obedience; but I beg you at the same time to understand 
that neither you nor Don Silvestro can expel me from the 
Institute : that is God s affair, and he needs neither you nor 
Don Silvestro. I regard myself unmistakably called to the 
Institute, for obedience has told me so. 

As for you, Celeste, I see you on the brink of an awful 
precipice, and I shall bitterly regret your loss if you do not 
turn back. I behold you living without practising obedience 
to Falcoia whom you are obliged to obey, at least as 
spiritual director of your Community. It may already be 



48 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

said that you have lost the sense of obedience to your true 
Superiors and have lost your peace of soul. See that you 
do not suffer the shipwreck of your soul, for you are on the 
way. I have had novenas said for you in several places ; 
but I see you are too hard-hearted. I fear that God is 
already abandoning you. 

My dear Sister, I have spoken to you for the glory 
of God and for the welfare of your soul ; do not become 
angry. It will do no good now to trouble yourself to write 
to me. I know well that that brain of yours will be able to 
find replies and counter-replies, but what I do not know is 
that these will be of any service to you when you stand 
before the tribunal of Jesus Christ, especially as I see that 
you are growing only more obstinate in your opinions, and 
are bent entirely on finding answers, and not on sanctifying 
yourself. 

My dear Celeste, do listen to me : humble yourself; the 
Lord will certainly enlighten you if you humble yourself; 
obey your Superiors, and you will fall into no error: 
Falcoia is holy and meek; do not for a moment imagine 
that he wishes you ill. If you humble yourself before him, 
you will be dearer to him than at first ; be resigned to the 
will of God, and pray ; otherwise your prayer will be of no 
service to you, all your reasons will be passions, and your 
revelations will be imagination and delusion. If you do not 
care to listen to me and Falcoia, consult other unprejudiced 
men. Seek other assistance; do not walk blindly on the 
road of perdition; seek the advice of others, not to find 
matter for reply, but to discover and embrace the truth 
with your whole heart. 

Believe me, dear Celeste, all that I have written, I have 
written because I love you in Jesus Christ ; if you wish me 
evil you do me a great wrong. May Jesus and Mary induce 
you to do the will of God ! 

My letter is finished ; but I feel myself necessitated to say 



I733-J Letter 8. 49 

a few more words. My dear Celeste, pardon me if I 
conclude by speaking too frankly. Do you not recognize 
the fact that you are attached to Don Silvestro, and that he 
returns this feeling ? You say : It is an affection in God, 
because I seek nothing but God. I do not say that you are 
sinning thereby ; but, am I not right in saying that there is 
a great deal of this earth in such an affection ? You do not 
seek God alone in Don Silvestro, but look also for some 
thing else, which is not God. You are in the mire; take 
care lest by following Don Silvestro you voluntarily place 
yourself in danger of losing God. Again you say : / rely 
on God. No. I tell you, Celeste, you do not place your 
reliance on God in this matter; for God does not assist, 
nay, he abandons those who of their own free will expose 
themselves to danger. To sum up: So much is certain, 
if you follow Falcoia, you will surely become a saint; 
if you follow Don Silvestro, you will certainly not sanctify 
yourself, and only God knows whether you will be saved. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, a poor sinner. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 8. 
To the Nuns of the Monastery of Pocara. 1 

The saint informs them of his intended visit. 

[I733-] 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary! 

My dear daughters, I remember that in the letter I sent 
you yesterday I told you I would come Thursday a week ; 
but this is a mistake, because the letter was written before 
yesterday. I will come on Thursday of this week, and will 

1 Our saint had given the spiritual exercises to these nuns in the 
month of March of the same year, 1733. 

4 



50 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

preach on the same day. Praised be Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

When I arrive, do not force me to listen to useless 
complaints ; let me find you entirely divested of yourselves, 
so that you no longer have anything of your own. 

.After the original in the possession of Father Alfonso 
Fusco, C.SS.R. 

LETTER 9. 
To the Priest Giuseppe Cerchia at Castellammare. 1 

He exhorts him to leave the world, and to give himself 
entirely to God. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

SCALA, July 3, 1733. 

See, now, to what a fine conclusion you have come : 
Spiritus promptus est, caro autem infirma ! [The spirit 
is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matt. xxvi. 41.] This 
is the way in which you correspond to the graces received 
from our good Mother Mary ! Such is the generous re 
solution that you have formed of giving yourself entirely to 
God ! Spiritus promptus est, caro autem infirma ! 

I beg you, for pity s sake, come quickly, quickly, quickly. 
Why speak of your family, of your mother, of your brothers, 
of your relatives! Audi, filia .... obliviscere populum 
tuum, et concupiscet te Rex. [Hearken, O daughter .... 
forget thy people and thy father s house, and the King 
shall greatly desire thy beauty. Ps. xliv. u, 12.] He 
that does not leave all for God, will not find God entirely. 
Make haste ! there are many missions to be given, and we 
wish to have you with us. Your mother is well now ; come 
then to Scala without delay; fix your own time for your 

1 Although St. Alphonsus wrote many letters to this priest, the 
latter could not be induced to enter our Institute, for which he 
however, always entertained the greatest affection. 



I733-] Letter 10. 5 1 

departure, and profit by the convenience that I now offer 
you, for I do not wish to expose you to the unpleasantness 
of another journey. Come speedily, speedily! Let the 
desire that we cherish of seeing you, urge you to come 
without delay ; and be convinced that you can work here 
even better than at Castellammare. Si quis .... non odit 
patrem suum, et matron .... non potest meus esse discipu- 
lus. [If any man .... hate not his father, and mother .... 
he cannot be my disciple. Luke, xv. 26.] 

Pray to our Mother Mary for me. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 10. 

To the Same. 

He continues the same exhortation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

SCALA, July 13, 1733. 

At the beginning of next month we shall begin a mission 
at Agerola ; but we expect to see you at Scala before we set 
out for the mission. You have resolved not only to assist 
us in our missions as an auxiliary priest, but also to give 
yourself entirely to Jesus Christ by sacrificing to him your 
family, your relatives, and your country. If you do not do 
this, you will never arrive at sanctity ; never, never ! Si 
quis .... non odit patrem suum, et matrem .... non potest 
meus esse discipulus. [If any man .... hate not his father, 
and mother .... he cannot be my disciple. Luke, xv. 
26.] Up to the present, you acted the brave man ; all was 
for God ; and now, what is the matter with you ? 

Come, now ! set out at once ; you see that the Lord has 
consoled you by restoring health to your mother; come 
quickly ; obtain an exeat from the bishop, and come. We 
do not wish that you bring with you any baggage or 



52 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

money; food and clothing will not be wanting. There is 
no question among us of family, of relatives, of strangers : 
we think only of loving God, and of doing perfectly his 
holy will. Come without delay; I shall take no excuse. 
God does not wish you to be a curate in a parish; he 
wishes you to be in the Institute of the Most Holy Saviour. 

Make haste ! for you should prepare yourself little by 
little for the exercises of the missions, in order that dis 
engaged from all care you may be able to give yourself 
entirely to the service of God and of souls. The souls that 
belong to God are not only those of Castellammare ; those 
of other places have also been purchased by the blood 
of Jesus Christ, and have perhaps more need of succor. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Quickly, quickly, quickly ! I wish no answer ; you must 
answer this letter by coming yourself. 

After the Roman edition. 



LETTER II. 
To the Same. 

He renews his request, briefly repeating to him the same 
reasons. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

SCALA, July 21, 1733. 

My dear Don Giuseppe: When will you come, when? 
You seem to wish that we should purchase dearly your 
arrival! Come at once; what are you waiting for? We 
wish to have you ; Jesus Christ is calling for you ; our 
Mother Mary is waiting for you: and you remain where 
you are and say: Spiritus promptiis est, caro autem in- 
firma ! [The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is 
weak. Matt. xxvi. 41.] But I answer: Qui non odit 
matrem, fratrem, etc., non potest meus esse discipulus. 






I733-J Letter 12. 53 

[Who does not hate mother, brother, etc., cannot be my 
disciple.] 

Please hurry; I wish that you should prepare for the 
instructions that are to be given during the next missions. 

Come and seek solitude ; come to seek God : Audi filia 

obliviscere populum tuufri, et domum pair is tui; et con- 
cupiscet Rex dec or em tuum. [Hearken, O daughter .... 
forget thy people and thy father s house; and the King 
shall greatly desire thy beauty. Ps. xliv. u.] If you do 
not do so, you will never become a saint ; no ; never ! 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 12. 
To the Same. 

He assures him of his prayers and again invites him to 
proceed to Scala. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

SCALA, August n, 1733. 

My dear Don Giuseppe : Send me some news about your 
health. I do not doubt that you will give me good news ; 
for on hearing that you are not very well I recommended 
you earnestly to our Mother Mary. If you are not in bed, 
come without delay ; you will become well at Scala. Our 
dear Don Gennaro 1 has arrived, and at the end of August 
we shall set out for the missions. Come, therefore, in all 
haste, as soon as you think that you will be able to bear 
the journey. In the mean time, I shall not cease to re 
commend you and to have you recommended to our 
Mother Mary, and I hope that we shall be heard. 

But I beg you to drive out of your head all that keeps 
you back, namely, your mother, your family, and your 
relatives. I ask this as a favor, for without it I really 
1 The Venerable Gennaro Sarnelli. 



54 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

believe that you cannot sanctify yourself: Audi filia, et 
vide, et inclina aurem tuam; et obliviscere populum tuum, 
et domum patris tui; et concupiscet (what a beautiful word !) 
et concupiscet Rex decorem tuum. [Hearken, O daughter, 
and see, and incline thy ear, and forget thy people and thy 
father s house ; and the King shall greatly desire thy beauty. 
Ps. xliv. ii.] Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 13. 

To the Same. 

He refutes one of his objections. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

SCALA, August 18, 1733. 

I very well see, my dear Giuseppe, that you feel a 
repugnance to be one of our number, and that this re 
pugnance is growing from day to day. Has any one 
ever heard it said that a son must renounce a more perfect 
life in order to attend to his mother when she has with her 
jn the same place, where she is living, several secular sons ? 
But he should renounce it. Because his mother does not 
wish to live with them ! If she does not wish to live with 
them, you are not obliged to give up the more perfect life 
to which God has called you, and in which you would serve 
him, divested of everything, etc. In short, I do not wish 
to say more, for I see that more words would undoubtedly 
be lost upon you through your fault. Perhaps the foundation 
at Caiazzo, which had already been decided upon, will not 
take place, but enough : we do not wish to force any one. 
At least speak to Don Gennaro Sarnelli to whom you have, 
it is true, given your word ; but such promises are not 
binding. At all events, let us have you for the missions 
which will soon take place; we are expecting a definite 
answer, and when I receive it I will communicate it at once. 



1733-t Letter 14. 55 

As for your illness, I have had you recommended to our 
Mother Mary. Pray at least for us. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

You must also know that if you do not come, you will 
displease the bishop ; however, do as you please. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 14. 
To the Same. 

He invites him to assist him at least in the missions as an 
auxiliary priest. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

SCALA, AugUSt 30, 1733. 

When one cannot do a certain thing, one cannot do it. 
Be it so ; and I say, When one is not willing to do it, one 
is not willing. But that is enough ; I have no intention to 
annoy you any more. We do not wish to see you among 
us if you do not come to remain with us with your whole 
heart ; for we do not take people by force. 

Give us the pleasure of accompanying us on the missions ; 
as soon as I receive notice of the time they begin I shall 
let you know. Yet it may be that we shall not first go to 
Agerola, because sickness appears to continue there; we 
shall begin in other places. You would then have to come 
to Scala; but this, you will say, would not be a trifling 
thing for you to do, since Scala has become so odious to 
you that you would not wish even to pass through it ! 

This is enough ; more words would be useless. I do not 
believe that you will take offence at our desire to have you 
as our confrere. During this novena pray to our dear 
Mother Mary for me a poor miserable being. Live Jesus 
and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 



56 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 15. 
To the Priest D. Francesco de Viva. 

He exhorts him to detach himself from all human affection. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

VILLA, June 7, 1734. 

My dear Ciccio : We see in an evident manner that Jesus 
Christ is blessing us, and that he wishes to make it known 
in us that it is of him that it is said : De stercore erigens 
pauperem. [Lifteth up the poor from the dunghill. 
i Kings, ii. 8.] 

Continue to labor with Father Campanello for the "little 
crown of the Infant Jesus." Go in search of him, or write 
to him, otherwise you will not succeed. 

As for your retreat at Santa Maria del Vignanello, 1 my 
dear Ciccio, how can you doubt that I feel an extreme 
pleasure of having you as a neighbor, since I have been 
wishing to draw you still closer to me? I believed even 
that it was perhaps already a settled matter when I saw you 
so much inclined to a retired life, and so enamoured of the 
charms of virtue. But human respect, or rather my sins, 
have placed an obstacle thereto. How could I, after that, 
not esteem myself very happy to have you at least for my 
neighbor, and to enjoy, at least sometimes during the year, 
during the holy missions, the beautiful examples of virtue 
that you give? But listen to me, dear Ciccio: you will not 
be perfectly happy, and perhaps even you will with difficulty 
belong entirely to Jesus Christ if you do not really renounce 
Campanello, and tread under foot the world with all its 
considerations. Thomas a Kempis says: Dinritte omnia, et 
invenies omnia. [Put aside all things, and you will find all 

1 S. Maria del Vignanello was a hermitage not far from Villa 
degli Schiavi, where the holy founder had opened the second house 
of his Institute, and where he had been living for about a month. 



I734-] Letter 16. 57 

things.] But I must stop ; I do not wish to carry my 
boldness farther in the case of one that can give me lessons 
both in science and in virtue. 

Recommend me to Jesus and Mary, and recommend to 
them your affair specially during this month. Who knows 
what our dear Mother Mary will say to you? Live Jesus, 
Mary; Joseph, and Teresa! 

Be so kind as to send to me four pictures of the Blessed 
Virgin of Caravaggio ; send me also an answer. Live Jesus 
and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 1 6. 

To the Same. 

Great works should rest only on the spirit of faith and 
on confidence in God. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

VILLA, July 15, [1734]. 

You tell me that I should write to you often; here I am, 
but what must I tell you ? You write to me that neither 
Campanello nor human considerations are keeping you 
from entering the Institute, but from what you say you 
seem to think it impossible for the work of the Institute to 
succeed. But I answer you in the words of Jesus Christ: 
Apud homines hoc impedimentum est, apud Deiim omnia 
possibilia sunt. [With men this is impossible, with God 
all things are possible. Matt. xix. 26.] 

But what support have you? We have God. And which 
supernatural work of great importance has ever rested upon 
human support? Tell me what human support had the 
foundation of St. Francis, of St. John of the Cross, of St. 
Teresa ? 

You tell me that this priest j has better human resources 

1 A priest that tried a work analogous to that of St. Alphonsus. 



58 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

than we; hence for this reason we should have more 
confidence than he, since the more important the works are, 
the more Jesus Christ causes them to rise out of nothing 
and from the midst of contradictions, so as to make them 
admired and venerated by all as God s work, and not as 
the work of men. And what work was more destitute 
of human means than the preaching of the Gospel? Ah! 
my dear Don Ciccio, as long as you speak thus, it will 
be evident that you are not called to the Institute ; because 
Jesus Christ wishes that there should be in our Institute 
men who are dead to their own will and their own judg 
ment; men, moreover, who have put their confidence in 
God, and not in human means. 

You tell me that you would wait and see, and then 
decide ; but take care that lest before finishing the reflection 
life itself may not finish, because very likely in order to see 
the affairs of our Institute settled many years will be re 
quired. For the reform of the Carmelites, fifty years, if I 
mistake not, had to pass before everything was definitely 
settled. 

O my God ! if Jesus Christ should wish that the Institute is to 
cease with us, what injury would be done if in the mean 
time, as you see, we should give ourselves up less to 
prayer and to the salvation of souls, redeemed by Jesus 
Christ? And although the Institute should be dissolved 
before the end of our life, would this be ever a great 
disgrace to us, for having undertaken so holy a work the 
end of which is certainly very grand? And if ever we 
should earn thereby the contempt of men, shall we not 
likely gain the good pleasure of Jesus Christ, since we have 
been doing what contributes so much to his glory? But 
you must know, my .dear Ciccio, that we shall understand 
these things better when all of us, we and those that discredit 
the Institute, shall be in eternity ; then we shall see which 
was dearer to Jesus Christ: to have been a member of the 



I734-J Letter 16. 59 

Institute, or to have thrown discredit upon it. Remember 
that if we do not lose confidence, the Institute will surely 
not be dissolved. Only if we are wanting in confidence in 
God, and if we place our hopes in human aid, shall this 
work be destroyed. This we know by experience, because 
when we confided in human means the whole work was 
nearly destroyed. 1 God is omnipotent, et Protector est 
omnium sperantium in se [and the Protector of all those 
that trust in Him Ps. xvii. 31.] And I tell you the truth : my 
hopes for the Institute are supported by the great confidence 
that I notice in my companions, who astonish me when I 
see them advance, and as it were flying, towards perfection. 
I assure you, I feel ashamed to see myself among them. 

Ah ! my dear Don Ciccio, who could it have been that 
has done what has hitherto been done? I or God? And 
this God can also finish what he has begun. 

If therefore Jesus Christ does not wish to afford me the 
consolation of having you as my Brother, I must have 
patience, for I do not deserve such a favor. Come soon to 
Santa Maria del Vignanello; we shall then be at least 
brethren on the missions. But, my dear Don Ciccio, when 
you speak of us be careful, because your words can do 
more harm to us than the words of others, and because we 
esteem you our friend ; therefore your words have greater 
weight, and what you say will continually be repeated. 

Continue to prepare with Father Campanello that little 
crown; but labor is necessary ; the Infant Jesus will how 
ever reward you for it. 

I wish to have the pictures of Santa Maria di Carrevaggio 
which you have promised me. I shall have prayers said 
for you by our little Community. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! Leave word at 

1 He refers to the hope placed in I). Silvestro Tosquez of obtaining 
the Imperial approbation through his brother who had great influence 
at the court of Vienna. 



60 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

the house of Rendina that their Gennaro * is content, and 
that I love him as my own brother. Live Jesus and Mary! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 17. 
To Father Tommaso Pagano, Priest of the Oratory at Naples. 

A brief dissertation on the question, whether and when a 
priest is obliged to go to the country of the heathen, and to 
preach to them the teachings of the Gospel. 2 

[July, 1734.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Don Mattheo Ripa 3 said at Naples that before reaching 
the Indies we come to the Cape of Good Hope where there 
are many idolatrous people, and where no one goes to teach 
the faith. It is asked whether he that knows this state 
of things is obliged to go there. 

The question is reduced to the general question, whether 
in the spiritual necessities of our neighbor we are obliged to 
help him at grave inconvenience to ourselves. 

It is the common opinion according to the theologians 
of Salamanca that in regard to the necessities of individuals, 

1 Gennaro Rendina, born at Naples, September 28, 1707, entered 
the new Institute where as a lay-brother he died after a holy life at an 
advanced age. 

2 The saint, as appears from his journal, before founding his 
Congregation, had cherished the idea of consecrating himself to the 
missions in heathen countries. Two years after the foundation he 
wished to carry out his intention ; but Mgr. Falcoia in a letter dated 
July 20, 1734, and Father Tommaso Pagano, his first director, in 
another letter of August 4, the same year, forbade him to do so. 

3 The founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family among the 
members of which St. Alphonsus had lived for two years. The seat 
of this Congregation at Naples was called the Chinese College, its 
object being to train missionaries for China. 






I734-] Letter //. 61 

we are obliged to help them at the risk of our property, 
reputation, and life, only in an extreme necessity, in respect 
to which extreme necessity two things are required, namely : 
i. Ut proximus sine tuo aiixilio damnandus sit [that your 
neighbor would be damned if you do not help him] ; 2. Ut non 
habeat a quo sublevetur [that there is no one to help him]. 
The theologians of Salamanca therefore say that non debes 
navigare ad Indos convertendos, cum sint qui subvenire 
possunt, et alias est incertum illos essc per tc convertendos 
[you need not travel to the Indies to convert the inhabitants 
when there are those that can assist them, and it is otherwise 
uncertain whether they would be converted by you.] Tam- 
burini says that when there is any uncertainty chiefly about 
success we are excused from going among the heathen. 

The theologians of Salamanca say that it is the common 
opinion that in reference to the necessities of any Community 
we are obliged to come to their assistance in a grave 
necessity even at our grave inconvenience. They say for 
example : That preachers are obliged at their grave peril to 
denounce public sins of scandal ; or if during an incursion 
of enemies there is no administration of the sacraments, and 
without it the faith of the people is endangered, you are 
obliged to administer the sacraments at the peril of your life. 

This doctrine being supposed, it is asked why the theo 
logians of Salamanca put the case of travelling to the Indies 
among the necessities of individuals, and not among the 
necessities of Communities, since there is question of entire 
kingdoms of idolaters; and Bonacina and Viva when 
speaking of the heathen speak of a case of extreme ne 
cessity. Hence it appears that to prove the obligation 
of which we speak, it is sufficient to establish here a grave, 
not an extreme necessity. 

That these countries are in a grave necessity as regards 
their spiritual condition appears to be certain, since few 
missionaries go there. It is true, the theologians of Salamanca 



62 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

say that there is then this obligation of going there when 
aliter subveniri nan potest [when otherwise they could re 
ceive no assistance] ; and Laymann says of this obligation 
quando populus infidelis sit omni sacerdote destitutus [when 
the unbelieving people are without a priest]. Of these 
people it could be said that they are altogether deprived 
of the services of a priest, et aliter subveniri non potest [and 
cannot be otherwise assisted]. 

However, speaking of the above-mentioned case of the 
Cape of Good Hope, it might be said that at least at present 
there is some one to go to the assistance of its people if this 
has not been done in the past, or at least some one will be able 
to do so in future; particularly since bishops are appointed 
for such places, and they are obliged to provide for them, 
etc. Thus at least aliter subveniri potest [they can be 
helped otherwise] ; hence, individuals are excused from going 
there. Or if any one of these Communities is altogether 
destitute of help, it must be supposed that the many 
missionaries sent to these forsaken places have abandoned 
them, because there was no hope of being of any benefit to 
its inhabitants. Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 1 8. 

To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce in the Monastery 
at Camigliano. 1 

He writes out for her a rule of life, and exhorts her to give 
herself up entirely to God. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

VILLA, August 26, [1734.] 

Beloved Sister and daughter in Jesus Christ, let us praise 
together the goodness of Jesus, since he has vouchsafed 
to give you through my letter a greater desire to love him. 

1 Camigliano, a town in the diocese of Calvi. 



I734-J Letter 18. 63 

As for mortifications, you may use the discipline four 
times a week, but not to blood, and wear twice the cilicium 
till dinner-time. Try to mortify yourself also in eating by 
abstaining from fruit three times a week, and from something 
more on Wednesdays and Fridays ; on Saturdays only you 
may fast on bread and water. In the evening be careful to 
eat as little as possible, in order to be well disposed for your 
devotions in the night and in the morning. 

As for prayer, I should wish that besides the hour during 
which it is made in common, you would devote another hour 
in private, at the most convenient time, especially during 
the night and during the hours of the greatest solitude 
when Jesus speaks to the souls whom he loves. In re 
gard to silence, I wish that it be strictly observed : except 
during the time of recreation, that is to say, after dinner 
and after supper, do not speak without necessity, and speak 
always in a low tone of voice; moreover, during the day, 
devote two hours to a stricter silence. We never find a 
soul given to prayer that speaks much. Whoever really 
loves Jesus should never wish to speak to any other than to 
Jesus, never to see nor to hear any one else than Jesus. 

Every week, choose a day of retreat for the purpose 
of spending it entirely in prayer, in spiritual reading, and in 
other exercises of piety. 

Make every day a half hour s spiritual reading on the 
virtues ; often read in St. John of the Cross that passage in 
which he speaks of the seven deadly sins, of pride, etc., 
which one may find at the beginning of the Obscure Night. 

In the novenas you may increase the foregoing morti 
fications by using the discipline every day, etc. 

If you follow these rules, you may receive holy Commun 
ion, if it is permitted to you, three or four times a week, 
and during the novenas every day. 

Have great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and every day 
in visiting her, place yourself entirely in her hands. 



64 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Make at least three visits every day to the Blessed Sacra 
ment. 

In prayer see to what you are most attracted, and meditate 
upon it ; then employ the time in making acts of love to 
Jesus and Mary, and in asking them for graces. Outside 
of the time of prayer you must always be sighing for this 
divine Spouse, who loves you, and who only deserves all 
your love. If you fall into any sin, rise again with courage by 
making an act of love of Jesus Christ, and think no more 
of the sin except to confess it. 

In case of illness, omit all the mortifications that may 
injure you. 

This is all that I have to say to you for the present. 
Strengthen yourself in the resolution to give yourself entirely 
to God, since he wishes to give himself entirely to you. 

The little girl is yet too much of a child to exact from her 
the spiritual life; you may, however, promote the glory 
of God by letting her advance in his holy love, but without 
too great a solicitude. If, nevertheless, she should be truly 
an obstacle to your spiritual good, endeavor to find out a 
means of getting rid of her; if not, Jesus Christ will assist 
you. . 

I beg you to recommend me to Jesus and Mary in all 
your prayers and Communions, and to make a novena to 
Mary to obtain for me certain graces that I desire. 

Though I am so wretched, yet this morning I prayed to 
Jesus Christ for you in a special manner, in order that he 
may dispose you to give yourself entirely to him by re 
nouncing for the love of him every consolation in this life 
and the next. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant 

ALFONSO DK LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 



1734- ] Letter 19. 65 



LETTER IQ. 
To the Same. 

He exhorts her to fervor, and tells her what she is to do on 
his visit to Camigliano. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

VILLA, September 19, [1734.] 

I write in haste, because the porter is in a hurry to 
depart. I received your letter at Caiazzo, where I was 
engaged in giving a retreat to the religious. I learn with 
what fervor you have resumed the service of Jesus Christ, 
your Spouse ; henceforth pray to him unceasingly to obtain 
perseverance, and fear that you may relapse into tepidity 
which would perhaps be succeeded by a great chastisement 
on the part of our Lord who, when he calls, wishes that we 
respond to his voice. Continue always to make your 
meditation as you are doing, and do not omit it, however 
great may be your coldness ; be convinced that it is on 
meditation that your progress in virtue depends. 

If you desire my presence, send me the evening before a 
conveyance with some one to accompany me, and I shall 
devote a day to your service. At the same time ask for me 
jurisdiction to hear confessions, and permission to address 
a few words to the Community, if it be desirable. Do not, 
however, speak to me about making a general confession ; 
because for certain souls a general confession, after having 
been once made, is more hurtful than useful. This visit 
would be only for the purpose of giving the religious some 
advice, though I have already given it by letter, and I do 
not know what more important counsels I could communicate 
by word of mouth. If, therefore, you could spare me this 
journey, and defer it to another occasion when it would be 
more urgent, you would afford me great pleasure. However, 
if you send a conveyance, and obtain the needed permissions, 
5 



66 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

I shall be at your service ; but this must not be on a feast- 
day, nor on a Tuesday, nor a Thursday. 

Recommend me always to Jesus and to Mary. It would 
be better to induce the bishop to have a mission ; then we 
would give a regular retreat to the Community, and very 
much good would result therefrom. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble and grateful servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 20. 

To Monsignor Pietro Agostino Scorza, 1 Archbishop of Amalfi. 

The saint asks him to fix the time for the spiritual exercises 
to be given to the clergy of Amalfi, and points out the 
difficulties that have arisen in regard to making a foundation 
at Positano. 

[End of February, 1735.] 

Most Reverend and Dear Sir : Remembering the orders 
that your Grace gave me in regard to the exercises to be 
given to the clergy of Amalfi, I beg you to inform me 
of the time that will best suit you. Rest assured that I will 
do all I can to oblige you ; and I feel myself under the 
greatest obligation to you for all the kindness and affection 
that your Grace has shown to poor me. 

I should be pleased to have the exercises given during 
Passion week, beginning on the preceding Saturday, and 
ending on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, because after 
Easter I should like to go at once to Caiazzo on account 
of business connected with the Institute. 

I say this, because your Grace already knows of the 

1 Pietro Agosto Scorza, born at Torre Maggiore, July II, 1676, 
was first bishop of Teramo; then from April 9, 1731, archbishop 
of Amalfi, where he died in 1747, or at the beginning of 1748. 



I735-J Letter 21. 67 

demands made by the gentlemen of Positano; 1 they wish 
that we should take charge of the school ; this demand I 
have regarded as surprising, since from the beginning I 
have repeated to them many times that I cannot agree to 
such a proposal .... how annoying! Having inconven 
ienced your Grace and me (God knows in what straits I 
was in my endeavor to satisfy them) they have brought 
forward the above-mentioned demand ... I imagine that 
up to the present time they were not bold enough to speak 
to me directly about this matter, knowing what has passed, 
but I have knowledge of it from another source. 

After an autograph sketch preserved at Rome in Father 
General s archives. 



LETTER 21. 
To Mgr. Constantino Vigilante, Bishop of Caiazzo. 

Petition. 

[June, 1735.] 

Right Reverend Sir: Alphonsus de Liguori, Superior of 
the Congregation of the Most Holy Saviour of the Villa 
degli Schiavi has the honor of submitting the following fact : 

Your Lordship enjoined upon the administrators of the 
Santissima Annunziata di Majorano, to furnish the Fathers 
of our Congregation with six ducats every year on account 
of the school which the Fathers of said Congregation main 
tain in said city. Now the time for paying the said six 
ducats having already matured, the said administrators do 

1 In the month of January of this year, the saint with the 
Venerable Gennaro Sarnelli, and others had given a mission at 
Positano. On this occasion there was question of founding here a 
house of the Congregation, but because the municipality wished that 
the holy founder should assume the obligation of taking care of the 
public schools, the project was not carried out. 



68 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

not intend to pay this debt ; hence the said suppliant J has 
recourse to your Lordship that satisfaction may be made to 
, him. He wishes you to accept now the assurance of his 
very sincere thanks, etc. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 22. 
To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce. 

He exhorts her to persevere in prayer. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

VILLA, December 31, [1735.] 

I remember, my dear daughter, to have received two 
letters from you, and I know that I have answered the 
second. J even kept for some time this answer, for the 
reason that I had no one to whom I might intrust it; then I 
sent it to you, if I mistake not, through some one from 
Bellona. 2 

I answer you now by way of Fondola, 3 for to-morrow I 
shall return to Naples. Yes, certainly, I wish you to write 
to me, and when you do not receive any answer, offer this 
sacrifice to Jesus Christ. 

Begin your retreat as soon as you can, and always tell me 

1 The mediation of the prelate proved useless; but the saint 
continued nevertheless to take care of the school, as appears from 
one of his letters addressed to his director, Mgr. Falcoia, dated 
October 5, of this year, in which we read : " The small income 
of six ducats [25 fr.] for the school makes no impression upon me, 
because we should not show the least shadow of being desirous 
of money, just as we should in no way lose confidence in divine 
Providence ; and since Monsignor would feel displeased if the 
school were abandoned, we shall not abandon it on any account ; 
the more so as it is not a little service, which is blessed by God, to 
educate ten or twelve souls who, I hope, will receive less a literary 
than a moral education. . . ." 

2 A village in the diocese of Capua. 

3 A village in the diocese of Capua. 



1736.] Letter 23. 69 

whether you persevere in prayer, for everything depends 
on that. I bless you in the name of Jesus and of Mary. 
Pray always for me in your prayers and Communions; on 
my part I will not forget you. When you hear that I am 
no longer at Villa, continue nevertheless to address your 
letters to me at the same place, for thence I shall receive 
them, and thence you will also receive my answers. You 
must, however, have the patience to wait. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very devoted servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 23. 

To the Priest Francesco di Viva. 
He invites him to come to him. 

Live the Infant Jesus, and Mary Immaculate ! 

REGALE, January 25, [1736.] 

My dear Don Ciccio: I hope that your catarrh has 
diminished. I beg you to come to-morrow morning to see 
me. We shall order the conveyance for you and for D. 
Gennaro [Sarnelli] , and both of you may go together, 
arranging this with the coachman who will call for you. 
From this place your Reverence may travel to Villa, and 
thence to Dragone; for which place I have also been 
asked for two Fathers. You may then travel together. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 



jo General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 24. 
To Marquis Giuseppe Gioacchino Montallegre. 

Abridgment of the Rule of the Institute of the Most Holy 
Saviour. 

[Month of January 1736.] 

Father Ludovico Fiorillo, a Dominican, wrote thus to the 
saint, January 16, 1736: "This evening, the i6th of the 
month, I called upon Signor Marchese Montallegre, and was 
happy to be able to speak to him in detail about the affairs 
of the new foundation. He promised to do all in his power 
to obtain the needed approbation. He moreover told me to 
procure for him an abridgment of the Rule which is observed, 
so that he may know what to say when he has an audience with 
the Pope. . . . Send me, therefore, an outline of the Rule." 

In compliance with this request, the saint gave the follow 
ing account : - 

It is already four years since a certain number of priests 
have been living together in Community at Scala; at the 
request of Monsignor Vigilante, Bishop of Caiazzo, they 
afterwards founded a house at Villa degli Schiavi, and 
finally they established one at Ciorani, in the diocese of 
Salerno. They have been giving satisfaction as much to 
the bishops and people of those places, as to those who 
have been coming from the neighborhood where a notable 
reformation has been wrought in the morals of the inhabit 
ants through the spiritual exercises that have been given. 

The principal aim of these priests is to imitate as far as it 
is possible, with the help of divine grace, the life and the 
holy virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ, so as to procure 
spiritual profit for themselves, for the people of the kingdom, 
particularly of those destitute of help, and to be able to 
assist the bishops and relieve the spiritual wants of the 
dioceses. ^ ^X 

They live in the above-mentioned houses a perfect Com- 






1736.] Letter 24. 7 1 

munity life, subject to their own Superior, engaged in 
various labors for the people, some at the school, some in the 
confessional, others in giving instructions, in preaching to 
Confraternities, in oratories, and elsewhere. 

In the dioceses where they are staying, they go about 
giving missions; and afterwards, in order to preserve the 
good that they do through the help of the divine Majesty, some 
of them return from time to time to hear confessions, to 
confirm the people in the resolutions that they have made, 
by instructions, sermons, spiritual directions, counsel, and 
so forth. 

Within and without their own houses they endeavor with 
the divine grace to follow as closely as possible the footsteps 
of our divine Redeemer and Master Jesus Christ Crucified, 
so that they may serve as models to the people both by 
word and by example. 

Moreover, in order to attain this object their Constitutions 
prescribe twelve virtues for them to practise ; these are : Faith, 
hope, love of God, concord and charity among themselves, 
poverty, purity of heart, obedience, meekness and humility of 
heart, mortification, recollection, prayer, self-abnegation, and 
the love of the cross. 

Every week each one makes a day of retreat in order 
that, while conversing only with the divine Majesty and 
devoting himself to the care of his own soul, he may draw 
thence more strength to labor in behalf of his neighbor. 

Whenever they remain at home they spend the greater 
part of the day in silence, in recollection, in the choir, in 
the practice of mortification, in meditation, which they 
make three times a day, namely, in the morning at the first 
hour, during the day about the hour of Vespers, and in the 
evening after Compline ; there are examinations of conscience 
before dinner and before going to bed. They, moreover, 
have domestic meetings during which they discuss the 
ecclesiastical sciences, the mode of advancing more and 



72 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

more in a solid, true, and positive imitation of the sublime 
virtues of the divine Majesty, the manner of more effect 
ively laboring for the spiritual welfare of souls, especially 
of those that are mostly neglected, and that live in abandoned 
places. 

The houses of the subjects are not numerous, and in 
regard to their maintenance they seek to be troublesome to 
no one, but they support themselves by that which they 
have brought from their own families, and which they place 
at the feet of the Superior, and by that which is voluntarily 
offered to them by the faithful for the love of Jesus Christ. 

This is a brief sketch of the aim and purpose of the 
Institute of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original written by the hand of Father Cesare 
Sportelli. 

LETTER 25. 

To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce, in the Monastery 
at Camigliano. 

Exhortation to practise renunciation. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

ClORAM [1736.] 

Your letter, my dear daughter, is the first that I have 
received from you for a long time, and I do not remember 
to have received any letter from you without having answered 
it. 

My answer to-day will, however, be short, for you tell me 
in your letter that you are painfully continuing in the practice 
of prayer, and that you are always in desolation : two things 
that afford me great pleasure. 

Continue then, and do not even ask our Lord for con 
solation ; make even every day a special visit of renunciation, 
I wish to say a visit in which you should renounce for the 
love of him all consolations and all creatures. Continue 



1736.] Letter 26. 73 

also to pray to our Lord for me ; ask him in particular to 
deprive me of my will, so that I may perfectly unite myself 
to his. 

I have not forgotten you, and I will not forget you in 
compliance with ,our agreement. Write to me. 

I am at Sanseverino. We shall hardly see each other 
again in this life ; but while doing the will of God, let us 
hope that we may see each other both as saints in heaven. 
I leave you with Jesus and Mary. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

Have your letters taken to Signer Giovanni Oliviero at 
Naples, Porta di Capua and di San Onofrio. Live Jesus 
and Mary ! 

Your very humble servant and Father, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After the original in possession of Signer Andrea d Isa at 
Camigliano. 

LETTER 26. 

To the Same. 

Different counsels of perfection. 

Live Infant Jesus, and Mary Immaculate ! 

[VILLA, February 1736.] 

Yesterday, my dear daughter, I received one of your 
letters, and I answer it this morning. The name of the 
bearer to whom I intrusted my letter is unknown to me; 
if then it was lost, you must have patience. 

I am quite confused on hearing that our Lord uses my 
letters for the purpose of doing so much good to your soul. 
But I must tell you that I am at present going to the 
diocese of Salerno for a new foundation. 1 Nevertheless I 

1 The foundation at Ciorani. 



74 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

do not wish to omit rendering you all the services that are 
in my power. Always write to me, and send your letters 
here to Villa ; care will be taken for them to reach me. 

Try, in future, not to allow yourself to be cast down by 
the thought of your imperfections. The best, then, will be 
to trust more in God, and to abandon yourself lovingly to 
his paternal guidance. All our confidence, in fact, rests not 
on our works, but on the infinite goodness which never 
rejects those who sincerely seek it. 

It would be injurious to your health to sleep in the cell 
of which you speak ; if, however, you are able to have it 
repaired, I would allow you to ask to have it done as an 
alms. In the mean time, could you not go to the chapel 
after supper? I give you permission for an hour. And do 
not fear; he that loves Jesus, fears no one. 

In regard to prayer, do not allow the distractions that 
come to trouble you. When you perceive them, recall 
your mind to God, but sweetly, without disquietude, and 
never reflect upon what you have done in prayer. Seek 
always to unite yourself to God by your will, but always by 
sweet and unrestrained acts. Read a little; then leave off, 
and content yourself with walking on this path of obscure 
faith; it is the sweet path for sanctifying yourself. Nor 
should you ever try to seek God with the senses; it is 
sufficient if you find him with pure love and with the will. 
In prayer, especially when you are in desolation, always 
recommend poor sinners without forgetting the souls in 
purgatory, especially those that have been most devoted 
to the Most Blessed Sacrament and to Mary. 

You must not think for a moment that we shall see each 
other at Camigliano, because I set out to-morrow. Submit 
yourself on this point to the will of Jesus Christ. Besides, I 
do not see that my visit to you is necessary. It would 
undoubtedly cause you sensible consolation ; but you should 
always sacrifice all consolations of this kind to the love 



i 73 6. j Letter 27. 75 

of Jesus, of this God who lived on this earth constantly 
deprived of every consolation. 

As mistress of novices, try to instruct more by deeds 
than by words. Let your words be always full of sweetness. 
Avoid, as a general thing, reproving the novices in public, 
and always make your corrections by saying kind words. 

As a matter of obedience to you, I say : Always remember 
my poor soul, above all in the presence of the Blessed 
Sacrament and in your Communions. I bless you in the 
hearts of Jesus and Mary. Live Jesus and Mary! 

Your very devoted servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After the original in possession of Father Vincenzo Ven- 
ditti, C.SS. R. 

LETTER 27. 
To the Same. 

He recommends his Institute to her prayers, and exhorts 
her to persevere in prayer. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, April 18, [1736]. 

First of all I must tell you, my dearest daughter, that 
when you write to me omit the title Your most illustrious 
Lord; it is sufficient to say Your Reverence out of respect to 
the priesthood with which I, though unworthy, am invested. 

In the second place, I must tell you that you must not be 
afraid ; when we embrace the cross we also embrace Jesus 
Christ who is united with the cross. 

I thank you for recommending me to Jesus Christ; never 
omit doing so, whether you receive letters from me or not ; 
and with me always recommend our Institute to Jesus 
Christ. You must know that we are in great trouble; 
within a short time we have lost four, perhaps, five subjects ; 
and thus you see how much we need your prayers. Pray 



76 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

to Jesus Christ to send us subjects ; I ask especially for a 
novena to Mary Immaculate and to St. Joseph, that they 
may obtain for us three subjects. 

In regard to the state of your soul, content yourself with 
having Jesus in your heart if you have him not before your 
eyes, and offer up to him this pain a pain that could not 
be greater for the soul that loves Jesus it is a pain that 
drew complaints from Jesus himself on the cross. But what 
does he know that knows not how to suffer for God ? Thus 
spoke your St. John of the Cross ; and St. Philip Neri said 
that there is no greater tribulation in this world than to 
have no tribulations. He added that he that desires to 
suffer little has little love for God. When you are more 
desolate than usual, raise up by a sigh your heart to Jesus 
by saying to him : O my Spouse ! I ask not Thy consol 
ations ; it is only Thee that I wish. Therefore, endeavor 
also to feel the pain that was felt by St. Aloysius de Gon- 
zaga ; it was for him a martyrdom of love not to be able to 
love God as much as he acknowledged him worthy of being 
loved. 

Pains or consolations, offer them all to Jesus. 

How I love to see in you, dearest daughter, this wear 
iness in prayer, and this perseverance in spite of the weariness ! 
It suffices, then, that you always make acts of union of your 
will with the will of God. 

If you would see, dearest daughter, that all goes well 
with you in regard to God, where would be your suffering? 
To suffer, then, would be a paradise. When trouble takes 
possession of you, try to recover at once peace of mind ; 
persevere in prayer and in your other spiritual exercises, 
notwithstanding every feeling of disgust, even though all 
should seem to you to be lost; leave all to Jesus Christ. 

Guard against all solicitude in relation to my letters, else 
they will be for you an obstacle to your perfection. 

I send my regards to Mother Superior, and I recommend 



i 73 6.] Letter 28. 77 

myself to the prayers of this afflicted soul, because afflicted 
souls are dear to God; on my part I have recommended 
her to Jesus and to Mary. As regards yourself, I follow 
the agreement that we have made. Live in the hearts 
of Jesus and Mary! Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble and very devoted servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 28. 
To the Same. 

Counsels in regard to perfection. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, May 23, 1736. 

My dear daughter, I received two letters from you at the 
same time. 

Continue to practise meditation as you are doing ; it is 
good; and have in this no other contentment, no other 
desire than to accomplish the will of the Lord. 

Although you may be in desolation and in trouble, yet 
endeavor always to practise meekness in your relations with 
your Sisters, and for this end do violence to yourself. 
Continue to say to them something about God when such a 
thing is useful to them. Charity is more pleasing to God 
than humility. Take care, however, on these occasions to 
acknowledge yourself (but before God more than before 
those to whom you speak) as miserable and despicable, as 
you are ; and if a thought of vain-glory presents itself do not 
heed it. 

When even you should find yourself colder than snow, 
do never omit to pray for poor sinners, for the souls in 
purgatory, and especially for me, in order that I may gain 
many souls for God. 



78 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

It seems to me that I have already told you not to ask 
me any more for the love of Mary to go to see you ; but I 
see that you have repeated the request. If God wishes 
this, I would obey him ; but it is difficult at present, for I 
am going to make a long stay at Villa. Do not, therefore, 
ask for this any more. Content yourself with what I can do 
for you, and I repeat, do not be solicitous on the subject 
of my letters. I have written to you more than once ; but 
either the letters are lost or they are delayed. Jesus will 
then grant you this consolation according to his good pleas 
ure, and if he wishes that we should wait till we reach 
Paradise to see each other, you should be resigned ; if not, 
you would prove that you do not yet belong entirely to 
God. 

I now recommend to you three things: Silence, the 
exercise of the presence of God, and a tender love for 
Mary. Pray without ceasing to this good Mother for me, 
for the Institute, and ask her for subjects ; for so far no one 
has come to replace those that have left us. The month 
of July is consecrated to Mary; go then, every day of this 
month, to pray to her to my intention and to that of the 
Institute that she may send us subjects if it be to her glory. 

I leave you in the heart of Jesus, and under the mantle 
of Mary. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very devoted servant and Father in Jesus and Mary, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After the original in possession of D. Antonio Palmerano 
at Pignataro Maggiore. 



1736.] Letter 29. 79 

LETTER 29. 
To his Father Don Giuseppe de Liguori. 

He asks him to help on the work of the Venerable Gennaro 
Sarnelli. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

CIORANI, July 16, [1736.] 

My dear Father : I again recommend to you the affair 1 
of D. Gennaro Sarnelli in reference to the removal of pro 
stitutes ; it is truly an important work that is conducive to 
the glory of God. This courageous missionary is the son 
of the Baron of the barony of Ciorani who does us a 
thousand favors. He has given us a beautiful piece of 
property with buildings, and a garden for a house and 
church. He has also furnished us with lime, wood, and 
even money in order that we may begin to build. Asking 

1 This affair of the Ven. Gennaro Sarnelli our saint thus describes 
in his sketch of Sarnelli s life: "As D. Gennaro saw that these 
unhappy woman by being scattered through the whole city did im 
mense harm and gave great scandal, he was convinced that the only 
method of remedying so great an evil was to compel them to live 
together outside of Naples. The whole city and God, above all, 
know what labors and expense this project occasioned him, for 
the furtherance of which he composed several books entitled the 
" Abuses of Prostitution." This undertaking drew down on him 
the opposition and the reproaches of friends as well as of enemies, 
for as they looked upon the thing as impossible, they were always 
striving to make him abandon it, and were bitterly ridiculing it. 
But his confidence in God was strong and unshaken, although he 
was alone and devoid of the help of man. He managed so well with 
the first ministers of the king, our protector, that he at last had the 
satisfaction of seeing his desires fulfilled." We may read the 
details of this great undertaking in the little work entitled : " Le 
venerable serviteur de Dieu, le P. Janvier-Marie Sarnelli." Paris, 
Jules Vic., 1886. 



8o General Correspondence. [PART i. 

you for your blessing, I remain, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 30. 

To the Same. 
He begs him to speak to him no more about the episcopate. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, August 5 [1736]. 

My dear Father : I have just heard what has been done 
in regard to the affair of Father Sarnelli. I beg you to 
co-operate with him as much as you can for the glory 
of Jesus Christ. 

In regard to the other affair, the episcopate, my dear 
Father, do not mention it to me any more if you do not 
wish to give me real pain. In case it were offered to me, 
even if it were the archbishopric of Naples, I should not 
fail to refuse it in order to continue this great work to 
which Jesus Christ has deigned to call me ; for if I abandon 
this work, I would regard myself as almost one of the 
damned, for having abandoned the vocation that God has 
so evidently made known to me. I wish, therefore, that 
you would no longer speak to me or to any one else about 
this affair, the more so, since in our Institute we are obliged 
by the Rule to renounce the episcopate and all dignities. 

I do not cease to recommend you to Jesus Christ. May 
you bless me always, so that I may remain faithful to God 
to whom I owe everything. I conclude by most humbly 
throwing myself at your feet and asking you for your 
blessing. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 



i 73 6.] Letter 31. 8 1 

LETTER 31. 

To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce. 

He marks out a rule of conduct for her interior and her 
exterior life. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, September 26 [1736]. 

I yesterday received your two letters. I learned with 
great pleasure that you have become detached from that 
person, and that afterwards you have been blamed. What 
you have told the Superior is sufficient ; there is no longer 
any need of justifying yourself, unless some are really 
scandalized at your breaking off in this way, supposing 
that you are entertaining an aversion. To the other relig 
ious you must always show a smiling and friendly count 
enance. 

Penances and mortifications should be performed only 
when you are well. 

In regard to the mission, assure the bishop that he did 
well to call the missionaries of St. George j 1 for we cannot 
go so far, and we have so much to do here that we cannot 
possibly give the mission. Indeed, our number is small ; 
do not, therefore, cease, my dearest daughter, to pray to 
Jesus and Mary that they may send us companions ; always 
pray, and especially now; for I have been informed that 
many wish to come. Although we are few in number, yet 
we are giving missions continually. 

I am displeased to learn of the great eagerness that you 
manifest of seeing me again. A general confession is not 
necessary, and God does not wish that you should think 
of seeing me again. I do not go to see even my mother, 

1 Neapolitan Missionaries. So called from the Church of St. 
George Major, the seat of their Congregation. 
6 



82 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

nor any one else. As for Villa, it is not at all proper for 
me to go there ; besides, 1 could not go without permission, 
and this permission my director [Mgr. Falcoia] would 
surely never give me if I asked him. Be therefore un 
disturbed, and I beg you never more to speak to me about 
this journey. Be calm ; God wishes you to be detached 
from all creatures from all without exception ; he desires 
to be your only companion and your consolation. 

Here is the advice that I give you : 

Use the discipline every day, and wear the cilicium till 
dinner-time ; on Fridays you may do something more : but 
when you are indisposed, especially when you have only 
little fever, do nothing, absolutely nothing. 

As for the fruit, if you can abstain from it, seeing that it 
is not strictly necessary for your health, you will do well to 
abstain from it ; it is sufficient if you take it only on Sundays, 
and then only a small quantity; on other days you may 
abstain from it when you have soup \minestr d\ and there is 
no other special reason. 

Do not, my dear daughter, complain about my silence ; 
if I do not receive your letters, how can I answer them ? 
Signer Giovanni Oliviero has changed his place of residence. 
He now lives in the Forcella quarter, in the street called 
Sopra Muro. Now let me know to which person I can 
address my answers so that they may reach you. 

As for past faults, think no more of them. Endeavor to 
keep aloof from every one: go to the parlor as rarely as 
possible ; if, with the permission of the Superior, you could 
avoid going there altogether, it would be well ; but if this 
cannot be, on account of business connected with your life- 
annuity, or other necessities, try at least to show yourself 
there as rarely as possible. However, if it were possible 
for you to let your relatives and others know that you 
would no more go to the parlor, oh, how glad I would 
be! 



1736. j Letter 31. 83 

Write to Luisa that I am very happy to see her con 
tinuing as she does; tell her that she should love Jesus and 
Mary very much by resolving to sanctify herself earnestly 
and cordially, and that she should pray for me. And as 
for you, all the time that you may have, employ it in 
prayer by always asking Jesus Christ for the grace of doing 
perfectly his will, in order to belong entirely to him. Oh, 
how beautiful is it to see a soul that belongs entirely to 
God, a soul that wishes only God, that loves only God, 
that thinks only of God, that seeks in all things only 
God! 

When obedience prescribes anything for you to do, espec 
ially when you are to attend the sick, leave all your de 
votions ; then in your occupations and fatiguing labor sustain 
yourself by ejaculatory prayers which you should allow to 
originate from all that you do or see ; render also assistance 
to the sick every time that you can do so. 

Always remember me and our Congregation; you see 
that on my part I do not forget you, and that I am deeply 
interested in seeing you a saint. O my dearest daughter ! 
the God that we have is so amiable and so good to him 
that seeks him with his whole heart. Courage, then ! Let 
us seek God only, him only, and nothing more; and 
let us always pray to Mary that she may help us to find 
him. 

Make a novena to Mary for the new subjects of whom I 
have spoken, in order that she may send them to us and 
confirm them in their good-will. May Mary be our hope, 
and Jesus alone be our love ! 

Since you desire to give me a more distinct knowledge 
of your past life, this is what you may do : When you have 
a little time, write to me all that concerns your past life, 
your faults, those at least that may be intrusted to a letter ; 
but on the other hand, note also the little attention that you 
have given to prayer, etc., and the graces that you have 



84 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

received from our Lord. I shall thus be better able to 
direct you. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble and very affectionate Father, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 



LETTER 32. 
To the Same. 

He prescribes for her the way she should behave under 
existing circumstances. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, October 26 [1736]. 

My dear daughter: I returned home yesterday, and I 
now answer your last letter. The expenses of the missions 
are incurred by us. We call ourselves the Congregation 
of the Most Holy Saviour. At present it is not possible for 
us to give a mission at your place ; for we have so much to 
do in this vast diocese of Salerno that we cannot go even to 
Cava which is near us. 

As regards the mortifications, I do not wish you to begin 
them if you are not well. Eat fruit sometimes when you 
see that it serves as a remedy either for the stomach or in 
order that you may not eat something else that will disagree 
with you. 

I am much pleased that you have that companion ; I 
counsel you to use all your influence with the Superiors 
that she may not be taken from you. Be always friendly 
to her, and always praise her before others. As for the 
services that appear to you so lowly in regard to the sick, 
you know that they have been highly prized and honored 
by the saints ; if the senses loath such things, it does not 
matter ; let nature show repugnance and do your duty. 



1737- ] Letter jj. 85 

As to the mission, it is impossible at present : the distance 
is too great. 

Finally, if you wish to be consoled, hear this advice: 
embrace in all things the will of God, and you will always 
be content. 

Pray always for me, who do not forget you. Pray to 
Jesus and to Mary to send us subjects. I recommend to 
you three visits every day to the Blessed Sacrament and to 
the Blessed Virgin by offering for the love of them your 
life and all things ; and in these visits give a sigh of love in 
behalf of my soul, in order that Jesus and Mary may help 
me to accomplish perfectly the will of God. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After an old copy, 

LETTER 33. 
To the Same. 
Various counsels. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CiORANl, April 4 [1737]. 

My dear daughter : I write you hurriedly these few lines 
in answer to your last letter, as we are very much occupied 
in the building [of a house at Ciorani] ; nearly fifty per 
sons have come through charity . to assist us. For this 
reason thank our Lord for us, and beg him to continue to 
bless us. 

Two good subjects have already come to join the Institute. 

What you tell me about your severe carnival and the first 
Friday of March, gives me pleasure. 

As for the foundation, I do not yet say that it is either a 
temptation or an inspiration. Pray to our Lord to enlighten 
me, and in the mean time keep yourself entirely resigned, 
6* 



86 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

as if the thing could never succeed. Write, moreover, to 
the duchess, and inform me of all. 

I am pleased with your sister, and her letter delighted me 
with the beautiful sentiments that she expresses. Cultivate 
this soul with care, for I hope that she will produce great 
fruit. 

When, my daughter, shall I come to Caiazzo? I do 
not know ; perhaps this may be when we least imagine it. 
In the mean time, let us love Jesus Christ with all our 
power, for he is well worthy to be loved. Always pray for 
me who will not forget you. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very affectionate Father in Jesus and Mary, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 34. 
To the Same. 

He reproaches her for her great repugnance to suffering. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[The middle of April, 1737.] 

As for the journey to Villa, God knows, my dear daughter, 
when I shall be able to make it, for I cannot leave this 
place, and I have no occasion to go to Villa. 

I rejoiced to hear of the persecutions of which you are 
the object; but what you add, that you despair of being 
able to remain longer in that monastery, gives me pain. 

If our Lord wishes a new foundation, he will himself open 
the way, and let us know when he wishes it. But perhaps 
this is a great temptation to you ; I fear it when I see the 
horrible repugnance that you feel to bear any longer the 
persecutions of the monastery . You should , however, 
desire these persecutions. Do you not see that you are 
now treated as our Lord, and that in watching you so 



I737-] Letter 34. 87 

closely, in keeping you in humility, your Sisters are co 
operating in the work of your perfection? And you say 
after this that you can no longer bear with them ! 

O my God ! what has then become of your desire to 
suffer for your Spouse, to belong entirely to him ? Sister 
Giovanna, my daughter, nevermore use such language 
when you speak to me ; otherwise you will make me lose 
the hope of ever seeing you really a saint, and I shall no 
longer regard you as my daughter. 

God wishes you to be a saint, but by means of crosses. 
In future, far from complaining of being persecuted, do not 
omit to thank Jesus Christ on this account: even ask him, 
in all your prayers, to make you live, unceasingly despised 
by all creatures. Your present aridity is without doubt a 
chastisement from his hand which is intended to punish 
your great repugnance to sufferings. 

When you are despised or accused, be silent until you 
are commanded to speak ; and in this case, instead of ex 
cusing yourself, say that you deserve to be dismissed on 
account of your imperfections. 

Continue to pray for the Institute and for me, and ask 
God to send us subjects. 

To expiate your want of patience, impose upon yourself 
some supererogatory mortification during eight days, in 
eating, in taking the discipline, or in wearing the cilicium. 

Pray to your divine Spouse to pardon you your want 
of resignation, and recommend yourself to our Lady of Seven 
Dolors ; she will solicit your pardon. 

Write to me, and tell me how you are getting on. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very devoted Father in Jesus and Mary, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After a copy sent by Mgr. Alfonso Giordano, Bishop of 
Teano. 



88 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 



LETTER 35. 
To the Same. 

He exhorts her to detach herself from creatures, and offers 
her advice how to behave towards her sister. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, April 22, 1737. 

I have just received your two letters, and I again answer 
that for the present it is impossible for us to go to your 
place to give a mission ; for our number is small, and we 
have so much to do here that we can hardly finish. More 
over, it is our rule never to give missions so far away, 
especially when we have to give them in places that are 
near us. 

I permit you to pray to Jesus Christ as St. Scholastica 
did ; but I forbid you all eagerness to see and to hear me. 
It may suffice for us to see each other in Paradise in order 
never to be separated from the beautiful vision of God; 
while waiting, let us aid each other by prayer, and remain 
in peace. God only is that good from which we must not 
be separated. All creatures are creatures that chill in us 
the love for the supreme good when we desire them with 
solicitude. I wish, therefore, to help you to unite yourself 
more and more to Jesus Christ, and not to separate you 
from him ; hence, I desire that henceforth you be more 
resigned. 

What consoles me is that darkness and contempt continue 
in you. Oh, would to God that in the midst of all the 
darkness, abandoned and despised by every one, we may 
have the happiness of loving and pleasing Jesus Christ! In 
darkness I recommend to you to employ a great part 
of your meditation in saying prayers to Jesus and to Mary. 



I737-J Letter 35. 89 

Oh, what an excellent meditation is that in which we do 
not cease to ask of Jesus the love of Jesus! 

I send you certain little works of piety with some hymns 
of my own composition. 

As regards your sister, it is necessary that you should 
neglect nothing to promote her eternal salvation. If there 
were some means of obtaining a place for her it would not 
much matter if something should be lost in selling the 
property. In short, you must take care of this affair, and 
find out whether the house of your aunt is frequented by a 
relative or any one else ; for in that case, you must cry out 
against such a thing, create a noise about it and decide 
upon measures. Do all that you can, but without losing 
your peace of mind ; what you cannot do place in the hands 
of Jesus Christ. 

Continue to recommend me very much to Jesus and to 
Mary. We are few in number, and at the present time we 
are nearly all sick. Make a novena to Mary Immaculate 
that she may procure for us both health and subjects ; we 
shall then go to give a mission at your place. 

I also request you to make without intermission acts 
of love to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. May Mary be 
our hope, and may Jesus be our love! Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After an old copy. 



go General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 36. 
To his Director Mgr. Tommaso Falcoia. 

Reflections as to the abandonment of the foundation at 
Villa degli Schiavi. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

ClORANI, July 12, 1737. 

Yesterday Brother Andrea arrived here, bringing good 
news from Caiazzo , and telling us that Mgr. Vigilante, 
being ill-disposed towards us, makes no further mention 
of another foundation. 1 Cheer up, my dear Father, may 
Jesus Christ send us tribulations in every way ; blessed be 
his name forever! Meanwhile, I see that the devil is 
endeavoring to cause us trouble from within. Don Giovanni 
[Mazzini] and Don Andrea [Villani] have written to me in 
confidence, and I confide it to you as a secret, my dear 
Father, that it may serve as a guide for you; but when 
speaking to them, do not mention that they have written to 
me. In short, I understand that Don Giovanni, judging 
from the tenor of his letter, has heard that our people are 
not to return to Caiazzo, and Don Andrea writes to me 
that he has had many interior and exterior struggles. I 
hope, nevertheless, that Jesus Christ will not abandon us. 

My dear Father, let me get rid of a scruple concerning 
the foundation at Villa which torments me very much : it is 
caused by seeing the great abandonment of these poor 
souls. 

1 Constantino Vigilante, Bishop of Caiazzo, was very much pained 
at the departure of the Fathers from Villa degli Schiavi, and did all 
in his power to induce them to return. We cannot ascertain why 
the bishop was at the time somewhat displeased with the Fathers ; 
at any rate, it is certain that this estrangement did not last very 
long ; for we learn from numerous documents that he was ever very 
friendly to St. Alphonsus and to the Congregation. 



I737-J Letter 36. 91 

When we went to the prince, 1 he said in the beginning 
that we could not expect more than the hundred and fifty 
ducats which had been promised, and that we should go to 
the delegate, as he did not understand the matter. I saw 
then, that, though he did not show himself favorable to us, 
he would not have been offended if the delegate had done 
us justice. Judging now from what he has said, it seems 
to me that I should have acknowleged that we could not 
claim more than the hundred and fifty ducats. My memory 
is, moreover, confused, and I know no longer whether or 
not I would have finished by taking leave. But Don Cesare 
[Sportelli] suddenly came out very boldly and said to the 
prince: "We have come hither to take leave, and we want 
nothing else." The prince then dismissed us with bad grace. 
I could then apply no remedy, since leave had already 
been taken. But during our journey to Villa, the doubt 
occurred to me whether I was not able to remedy matters, 
and whether the leave-taking was according to the intention 
of your Lordship. Yet I brightened up on the way when I 
heard of the violence used, for we may safely infer the 
consent of the prince, and furthermore we may conclude 
that he was opposed to us. I desired to tell you this in 
order to lighten my mind of a load. As for the* rest, I am 
satisfied with whatever God has been pleased to do through 
your Lordship. 

I also wish to tell you that we were offered three foun 
dations at Cava and at Vietri, but at the time I did not pay 
much attention to these offers, as I knew that your Lordship 
wished to see us united, rather than scattered in other 
places. But if, my dear Father, you wish that when I have 
to return to those places, I should select the best house as a 
new foundation, I shall obey. 

1 This was most probably Prince Francesco Carafa, lord of the 
hamlet Villa degli Schiavi. 



92 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

But, my dear Father, allow me to express my sentiments 
on this point. 

In the first place, it is necessary henceforward to exercise 
great caution in accepting foundations of this kind so miserable 
and wretched ; for though it is true that we can relinquish them 
at our pleasure, still such a proceeding reflects great dis 
credit upon our poor little Institute ; for people will say, as 
the talk now goes at Caiazzo, that we have been expelled. 

Then I would ask your Lordship, since we are so few, to 
keep us together; this consoles me when I think of Villa, 
for Jesus Christ has allowed us to abandon it without 
remorse, in order to make us more united. My dear 
Father, where subjects are only too few (your Lordship 
already know this, but I have had the experience) regular 
observance and fervor languish, even perseverance is threat 
ened ; to tell the truth, everything grows tepid: for let a 
subject be absent from choir on account of some affair which 
is always turning up, such as preaching or hearing con 
fessions, or some other business, of course there can be no 
choir; this happens pretty often. Moreover, when the 
choir is made up of so few, one can hardly make out what 
is said, for the same one must be hebdomadary, antiphon- 
arius, and must intone the psalms. Hence, we never learn 
to say the Office in the proper manner. Retreats and 
spiritual exercises are seldom made. For my own part, 
since I am alone, I do not remember that I have ever been 
able on a single occasion to make the exercises perfectly, as 
we were so few, and it was necessary for me to occupy 
myself with some affair or other. As for the domestic 
conferences, which are such an assistance to us, one is 
tempted to give them up ; one does not know what to say 
when so few are to be addressed ; all that one can do is to 
moralize a little, in order not to wound the small audience. 
The faults of which it is customary for us to accuse our 
selves in the refectory, are also few on account of the 



I737-] Letter 37. 93 

paucity of members, and so the accusation on Friday is 
often omitted. In the same manner the recreations, especially 
when one is out of humor, are more tiresome than refreshing. 
The result of all this is relaxed observance on the part 
of the subjects ; and we, my dear Father, have experienced 
this. We know it from the divisions, from the dispersion 
and ruin of the subjects at Ciorani ; Don Xaverio [Rossi] 
and Don Giulio [Marocco], to speak the truth, are not 
what they were, and I have become colder than all the others. 
It is good to speak of this, not only on our own account, 
but also on account of the others, who can with difficulty 
bring themselves to unite with us, because they see that we 
are so few. 

Only yesterday Father Fiorillo wrote me that there is 
a good foundation at Grotta Goglierma, beyond Sessa. It 
is a large village in the diocese of Aquino, where we would 
have a church quite finished, a house with twenty cells, 
and an abundance of comforts. Father Fiorillo asked me 
to go thither to inspect the place, for the municipality, he 
said, wishes to bestow it upon missionaries. 

I answered that I had been informed of it [The 

remainder is wanting.] 

After the original in the possession of his Eminence Gugli- 
elmo Sanfelice, Archbishop of Naples. 

LETTER 37. 

To Father Cesare SportelhV at Scala. 
Live Jesus and Mary ! 

CIORANI, August 7, 1737. 

My dear Don Cesare : I have received your letter from 
which I learn that you are somewhat better, though the 

1 Father Cesare Sportelli, a man of saintly life, was born at Mola 
di Bari in the year 1699. Having passed his course of studies very 
successfully at Naples, he devoted himself to the study of law, in 



94 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

fever still continues. Do not forget that favor which I 
asked you through Father Fusco, in regard to the Teresian 
Chronicles. Try to do this as soon as possible. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

ALFONSO. 

After the original preserved in the archives of the convent 
of the Redemptorists, at Pagani. 

LETTER 38. 
To his Father Don Giuseppe de Liguori. 

He begs him to be more charitable to his son D. Ercole, 
and gives him some advice about his own sanctification. 

[The end of October, 1737?] 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

My dear Father : I beg you for pity s sake to have a little 
more charity for your son. This morning he came to see 
me at Naples, 1 and began in my presence to weep, because 
he could not do otherwise on account of the grief that 
afflicts him. My God ! do you wish to make him desperate, 
and cause him to throw himself into a well, or to do some 
other rash act? For mercy s sake, stop showing your 
melancholy at table, give him some assistance, since your 
poor son is now married, exiled from Naples, without any 

which, thanks to his great talents, he made wonderful progress. 
Having discovered that a Congregation under the title of the Most 
Holy Saviour had been founded, he turned his back upon the world, 
and became the first companion of St. Alphonsus. In the year 1742 
he was chosen to be the first Superior of the house at Pagani, and in 
the year 1747, of the house at Caposele. He rendered great services 
on the missions. He died on the I9th of April, 1750. Before he 
breathed his last he began to sing In exitu Israel de Egypto, and in 
this joyous frame of mind he gave up his spirit to God . He 
wrought many miracles after his death ; three years and six months 
after his death the body was found beautiful, entire and flexible. 

1 In the month of October 1737, the saint was giving a mission at 
Naples, in the church of the Holy Ghost. 



1738.] Letter 39. 95 

comfort whatsoever. See that you do not make him do 
any imprudent act; especially should you show chanty 
towards him now that he is sick. Think that he is your 
son, and not a dog; hence, he should be dearer to you 
than possessions, than money ; and be assured that if charity 
is practised towards your own family, God will help you in 
some other way. What do you wish should be done? 
What is done is done ; and has already been arranged ab 
ceterno [from all eternity] ; upon whom can you lay the 
blame ? 

I beg you, dear Father, to be habitually a little more 
united with God, to go to confession oftener, to prepare 
your accounts, because when Jesus Christ comes there will 
then be no time to attend to this matter. Think that you 
are already advanced in age ; who knows within what space 
of time you will no longer be in this world ? and it is certain 
that this must be, whether you wish it or not. Every 
morning I recommend you to God at my Mass, for I fear 
much for your eternal salvation. I hope the Blessed Virgin 
will assist you ; but the Blessed Virgin will not be able to 
assist you without your co-operation 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 39. 
To Father Giuglio Marocco, 1 at Caiazzo. 

The saint complains of his silence, and tells him some news. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, March 9 [1738]. 

My dear Don Giuglio: What is the matter that I have 
not seen any of your letters for so long a time ? The past 
week we have been at home after two months spent in 

1 Father Giuglio Marocco , after the forced departure of the 
Fathers from Villa degli Schiavi, remained at Caiazzo, his native 
place, in order to treat of the affairs of their return to Villa. 



g6 General Correspondence. . [PART i. 

giving missions. We wish to know how you are, and 
when we shall have the consolation of seeing you ; when 
you come from the holy house of the Blessed Virgin, we 
hope that you will come here directly. 

We have learned that Columbano 1 has become re-united 
to his wife ; through this union Monsignor di Caiazzo was 
hoping to obtain his consent for the foundation. I should 
most sincerely wish you to inform yourself how things 
stand, without, however, making your desire known. 

Present my regards to Don Silvestro and also to Eliza 
beth; let the latter pray to Jesus and Mary for me; tell her 
that I do not forget her. Remember me kindly to Mon 
signor, and recommend me to Jesus Christ and to Mary 
every morning, especially at Mass. 

Here they have begun to build the church. . . . We hope 
to get a good Neapolitan subject ; recommend him to Jesus 
Christ. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your servant and brother in Jesus and Mary, 
ALFONSO DP: LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

P. S. I have already written to you that now there is no 
more question of going to our Lady at Loreto. Live 
Jesus and Mary ! 

After the original preserved at Francavilla Fontana in 
possession of Mgr. Francesco de Fazio, domestic prelate of 
His Holiness. 

1 Prince Francesco Carafa, lord of Villa degli Schiavi, had declared 
himself against the Fathers. The Princess, his wife, who was very 
pious, made every effort to secure their return. See letter of May 25, 
1759- 



1739-1 Letter 40. 97 



LETTER 40. 
To a Priest. 

It is impossible to give the mission for which he asks. 
Great desire of seeing him enter the Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

From the mission at CALVANICO,! April 27, [1739]. 

My dear Don Giovanni : I was greatly consoled to receive 
your most esteemed note, because I thought that you no 
longer remembered us. But your note proved to me that 
this is not the case; it proved, on the contrary, that you 
are thinking of us and of our Institute with real affection. 
O God ! how much assistance you could have given us this 
year by going with us on the missions, and I had so great 
a desire to write this to you ! But I was told not to do so 
on account of the disposition of your family and of the 
bishop. The latter, I believe, will grow somewhat cool 
towards us on account of what your relatives will have told 
him ; the fact is he will not even send us the candidates for 
ordination next Pentecost. If you have an occasion do not 
omit, I beg you, to assure him that in regard to this point 
we are altogether without fault. 

Let us now speak of the mission at Dupino. Dear 
Giovanni, I have received orders from our Father [Mgr. 
Falcoia] to retire after the mission at Mercato di Giffoni 
and to give no other, so that, though we had received a 
most urgent application from Valle di Giffoni - - an ex 
tensive and beautiful country we had to leave the people 
disconsolate, because no mission was given to them. It, 
however, happened that for a special reason the archbishop 
positively wished to have a mission given at Calvanico 
where I am now; our Father has granted us permission 

1 Calvanico was at that time a village in the diocese of Salerno 
containing 1568 souls. 

7 



98 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

to give this mission tantum [only], and no more , as 
he does not wish us to labor any more during the month 
of May. Now you ask me for a mission at Dupino; but 
it is too late. The most that I can do to serve you is 
to send a courier to Castel Montori to obtain permission to 
go; but I must say to you that such a thing will be 
impossible on account of the reasons given above. As 
soon as I receive an answer, Don Cesare [Sportelli] will 
send it to you. If we cannot go now, we shall wait till the 
weather becomes cooler. You must thank those gentlemen 
of the parish for the honor that they have done us. Had 
they notified me before, I could have taken more suitable 
measures to serve them. 

To return to ourselves. Do not forget us or the In 
stitute. Whatever you may do, you may be sure a good 
rewarder will pay you; I say no more. Ah, my dear 
Giovanni, my dear Giovanni! Let me at least know at 
what time, with the consent of your family and of your 
bishop, you will be able to help us on the missions ; let me 
know this, so that I may send you word when the missions 
are to be given. Messis quidem multa [the harvest is 
great] . . . especially for the coming year; oh, what a harvest 
is awaiting us ! There is especially Eboli where there are 
six thousand souls ; and our services have been asked for S. 
Lorenzo della Padula where there are also six thousand 
souls. Well then! pray to Jesus and Mary for us, and 
particularly for me. Asking you to write to me, I remain, 
etc. 

Your very humble and very devoted servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After the original kept at Dragonea in the diocese of Cava. 



1739- J Letter 42. 99 

LETTER 41. 

To Father Giulio Marocco. 

He writes to him to prolong his stay at Caiazzo. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

CIORANI, [June 1739]. 

My dear Giulio : When you wrote to me I was absent on 
a mission. Then Father Cesare [Sportelli] answered you 
for me, and begged that you would write about the matter to 
our Father [Mgr. Falcoia]. But now this is no longer 
necessary, since I have spoken to Monsignor. He says 
that you should stay at Caiazzo as long as the doctors 
say that it is necessary for your health. Pray to Jesus and 
Mary for me. 

Salute for me Monsignor [Vigilante], and tell him that 
we soon expect him and Don Silvestro; be cheerful; for 
pity s sake, be courageous, take exercise, and do not trouble 
yourself about anything. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your devoted brother and servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original preserved at Naples in the Oratory of the 
Archconfraternity of our Lady of Mercy. 

LETTER 42. 

To the Same. 

He hopes to see him soon again at Ciorani, and begs him 
to recommend to our Lady of Loreto himself and the Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, [End of July, 1739]. 

My dear Giulio : I was waiting a long time for news from 
you, and at last I received it. We rejoice that your health 



ioo General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

is better. We should like to know when we shall have the 
consolation of receiving you here. 

The priest in question wished to enter this summer ; as, 
however, by entering he would have to make the exercises, 
our Father [Mgr. Falcoia] wished his entrance to be 
postponed. He will come towards the second week of 
September. 

Know that on the i5th of October I shall begin a retreat 
to the clergy at Naples, and after that I shall return home. 
If during this time you would be able to arrange about 
coming here, my consolation would be redoubled. If not, 
may God s will be done ! 

After having written this, I heard that our Father has 
granted you permisson to go to our Lady of Loreto. I am 
glad of this; pray to this good Mother for me, for our 
companions and for our Institute, and go to her with great 
confidence that she may give you either good health or 
perfect resignation. I suppose that you will go by the 
way of the Abruzzi in order to avoid the mountainous 
countries. 

I have nothing more to say. May we meet again 
immediately after your trip. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your brother and servant, 

ALFONSO LE LIGUORI. 

After the original preserved in the diocese of Teano. 



I739-] Letter 43. 101 

LETTER 43. 
To Most Reverend Casimiro Rossi, 1 Archbishop of Salerno. 

He asks for faculties for the exercise of the apostolic 
ministry. 

[CiORANl, December 26, 1739.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Most Reverend and respected Sir: I write this letter to 
ask your Grace for two favors in regard to the faculties. 
The first is this : Your Grace will remember that for a priest 
of the diocese whose faculties for hearing confessions, gran 
ted for six months, were shortly to expire, you granted 
me an extension as long as the missions would last. Now 
as the same thing will often happen, and will in fact happen 
as I understand in the case of some confessors in the 
missions that are about to be given, I beg your Grace to 
concede to me also for the future, the same extension, in a 
similar case, to approved confessors for the time only during 
which they assist me on the mission. 

The other favor is this : The evening that I spent at 
Salerno it seems to me that your Grace allowed me the 
faculty of employing any one whom I believe fit to help me 
to hear confessions in the monasteries of nuns; but as on 
that evening I was so much occupied at the moment that 
afterwards I did not remember how I had formulated my 
request on this point, I now beg your Grace for the peace 
of my conscience to declare to me that you grant me the 
faculty of heaving confessions in said monasteries, and 
of asking any one whom I think suitable also to hear 
confessions, with the same faculties granted to me for the 
missions when I happen to give the exercises or when I 
preach in the said monasteries. 

1 Casimiro Rossi, born at Naples, March u, 1685, was first bishop 
of Taranto, then from May 5, 1738 archbishop of Salerno, where 
he died in 1759. 

7* 



IO2 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

For my greater tranquillity and for your convenience it 
will be sufficient, and I beg you that below you inform me 
that the aforesaid faculties are granted. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph! While humbly prostrating myself at your feet, 
I have the honor to remain, 
Most Reverend Sir, 

Your very humble, very devoted, 
and very grateful servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

The archbishop answered in the same letter: "The two 
faculties asked for, as expressed in this letter, are granted. 
December 28, 1739. 

CASIMIRO, Archbishop." 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



LETTER 44. 
To a Nun at Fisciano, in the Diocese of Salerno. 

He exhorts her never to omit Communion, notwithstanding 
all her temptations. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CASTELLAMMARE,! January 6, 1740. 

How much am I pained that you have so little faith in 
obedience, notwithstanding what I have told you and 
repeated so often ! One thing in your letter has, however, 
consoled me, that in spite of all this you have not given up 
Communion. 

I beg you, and I command you, never to omit holy 

1 The saint had given a mission at Fisciano in the month 
of November, 1739. He gave another at Castellammare in the 
parish of S. Salvatore at the beginning of 1740, and it is from this 
town that he writes the present letter. 



Letter 44. 103 

Communion, even when it should seem to you that you are 
giving consent to every temptation in the world. For pity s 
sake, do not treat your Spouse as a tyrant who wishes you 
evil, and who wishes to punish the soul that is anxious to 
seek him and not to displease him. 

If you cannot swear at first sight to have deliberately 
consented to the temptation, and consented to lose God, 
always go blindly . (I take it on my conscience) to Com 
munion, in spite of all disquietudes, and even if you believe 
you are committing a sacrilege. Act thus; you will no 
doubt suffer, but you will not on that account be less 
pleasing to Jesus Christ, since it is only to please him and 
to obey him that you communicate. 

In your Communions and prayers, do not forget the 
agreement that we have made with each other ; on my part, 
I pray and will earnestly pray for you to this good Master, 
for I see that you are very dear to him; yes, very dear, 
although you do not know this. Could you not convince 
yourself of this ? You would then become, miserable creature 
that you are, grateful to this God your Creator who bears 
towards you so tender a love. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI. 

After the original in possession of the Carmelites of Fis- 
ciano. 



IO4 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 45. 
To the Venerable Gennaro Sarnelli. 1 

He gives him advice in regard to the composition of spiritual 
books. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

ClORANI, April 3, 1740. 

My dear Gennaro : We are distressed on account of Father 
Xavier [Rossi] whose illness has grown much worse, causing 
him to lose more blood than before. To-day, however, he 
is a little better. May God spare him to us ! 

I have read what you have written to me. My dear 
Gennaro, I have, however, very little time, and soon I 
must go to Nocera to preach some sermons ; besides I am 
not very well. It would, indeed, be a great work for me 
to collect those small treatises about the Heart of Jesus and 
the Passion. I shall do what I can. 

I have told Brother Gennaro [Rendina] to copy the 
canticles, because I have not time to do so myself; but I 
shall revise them. In the canticle of the Desolate Soul it will 
suffice that you change the strophe arranged by Fontana as 
follows : 

1 This great servant of God, born at Naples, September 12, 1702, 
entered the rising Congregation in September 1733. He was a living 
image of the holy founder, so that like him he lived only for God 
and the good of souls, for the salvation of whom he always labored 
with incomparable zeal and ardor, with the living voice of preaching, 
and with the publication of many celebrated works. Finally, after 
eleven years of apostolic labors, worn out by fatigue and austerities, 
he rendered his beautiful soul to God. The cause of his Beatification 
was introduced by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, December 3, 
1874. 



i74o.] Letter 45. 105 

E se per me non mai 
Vi fosse, o Dio, perdono, 
Sappi che tua pur sono 
E sempre tua saro. 1 

As for the pious meditations on the Passion, the Blessed 
Sacrament, etc., of which you speak, I wish you to fill 
them with affections, rather than with citations, revelations 
and reflections ; for in this kind of meditations one should 
exercise the will more than the understanding ; and what 
devout persons require more, are affections and not con 
siderations. 

Particularly in the meditation on the Passion, when the 
meditation is on Jesus bound by the executioners, let the 
prayer be : O Jesus deign to bind us with the chains of Thy 
love, etc. You will find a similar aspiration written in the 
paper I send you. 

To Jesus covered with wounds by the scourging, the 
prayer may be as follows ; May he wound us with his love, 
since all these wounds cry for and demand only love, as 
our Lord himself one day said to Sister Vittoria Angelini. 

To Jesus crowned with thorns : May he reign over our 
hearts and our affections, etc. 

To Jesus dying : May he make us die to all the affections 
of the world. 

To Jesus wounded in his heart by a lance: May he wound 
us, etc: 

Read the book entitled : " Sufferings of Jesus;" 2 you will 
find in it very beautiful aspirations. See also the exercises 

1 E en though there be no hope for me, 
My God, I ll love Thee still; 
Though lost, my love shall e er be Thine, 
For only Thou my heart canst fill. 

2 This work, written in Portuguese by the Venerable servant 
of God, Father Thomas of Jesus, of the Order of St. Augustine, was 
translated into Italian by Father Louis Flori, S. J. [into French by 
Father Alleaume, S. J.] 



io6 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

which the author gives after the reflections. I conclude. 
When you have read them give them to Jorio for me. 

I will send you later the other affections and the canticles 
drawn from the " Book of Canticles." Recommend me to 
Jesus and Mary. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 46. 
To the Foundress of a Monastery of Nuns at Saragnano. 

Necessity of establishing perfect observance from the be 
ginning, especially in regard to poverty. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

ClORANI, July 12, 1740. 

Reverend and honored Mother: I regret exceedingly not 
to have been able to give you before your departure some 
useful counsels for the good of the new foundation and for 
the glory of Jesus Christ. I have therefore thought that I 
would send you the counsels in writing. 

I would say to you in the first place : Prepare yourself to 
suffer much for Jesus Christ, if you wish that this foundation 
should be made according to his design. You will have to 
suffer poverty ; you will have to endure persecutions, not so 
much from outsiders as from those that are within ; because 
the latter are accustomed to live according to their own 
fancy, and as soon as they see themselves restricted by the 
Rule, there will be among them malcontents who will 
murmur and create disturbance; there will also be some 
who will take their departure. But let those go away with 
full liberty who do not wish to observe the Rule punctually. 
It will not matter if you remain alone ; Jesus and Mary will 
come to your aid. 

Consider that you have to implant the spirit of fervor 
which is always to endure in future. But if now you begin 



i74o.] Letter 46. 107 

to relax, either through human respect, or through fear 
that complaints will be made, or that some will leave 
you, remember that the foundation will go from bad to 
worse. 

In all other points, be full of charity towards all the 
Sisters, especially the sick ; try to be the servant of all, and 
make them understand that you bear great love towards 
each one of them, because love, and not force, is an excellent 
means of rendering them docile and obedient. But when 
you see that any one obstinately resists obedience, and 
especially the Rule, dismiss her resolutely, and implore the 
help of the bishop, asking him to support you in this matter, 
which is absolutely of the first importance. 

Keep always before your eyes, Reverend Mother, the 
beautiful reward that awaits you in heaven if you maintain 
observance, and the severe chastisement that will, on the 
contrary, be inflicted upon you if, in order to condescend 
to the weakness of some Sister, you introduce inobservance 
by scandalizing the others. And what is not done now, 
you should despair of doing later, since fervor will always 
diminish rather than increase. 

Take care to instruct more by example than by words. 
Be the first to observe all the Rules, and as to the ob 
servance, lay aside everything else. It is on the observance, 
understand this well, that the sanctity of this foundation 
depends. 

Watch particularly over the observance of poverty, and 
absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, permit no one to retain 
anything as her own, not even a needle, if there is no real 
necessity. Let everything be in common, as is required 
by the Rule. Do not allow anything to be kept in the 
rooms that is not strictly necessary. Fruit, sweetmeats, 
jewels ! Of what use will all this be, if not to make us suffer 
years and years in purgatory ? For a much greater reason 
should you forbid the keeping of linen, of money, or of any 



io8 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

other object, even if it has been received as a present Let 
all presents be for the benefit of the Community. 

Be on your guard, for if now you do not establish good 
customs, it will afterwards be impossible for you to remove 
bad ones. Recall to mind what I preached at Fisciano 
where some abuse had been introduced ; and you know 
what it cost to remove it. 

Endeavor also to suppress as much as can be done all 
talking in the parlor, and see to it that the listeners be 
always present. A monastery in which poverty is observed 
and in which the grate is closed, is a holy monastery. 

Consider, Reverend Mother, that there is now for you 
question either of becoming a saint or of being damned. 
Give as much time as possible to prayer, for you stand 
very much in need of it, and exhort the others without 
intermission to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and at 
the feet of Mary, because on this everything depends. Tell 
the Sisters that all those that begin a foundation usually 
become saints when they strive to please Jesus Christ. 

I already know that in order to execute what I have just 
written, you will have much to suffer; but it cannot be 
otherwise. If the members of the Community do not wish 
to obey you, frankly declare to them and to the bishop 
that you wish to return to Fisciano where you can have 
more peace and where you will be in less danger of damning 
your soul. 

Have this letter read by the Sister who is your companion 
in this undertaking. Your Rule forbids flesh-meat. If you 
can settle this point, you will do well ; so it is practised in 
the monastery of Tramonti. 

Trust in the Lord and fear nothing, even if you see the 
whole world leagued against you on the question of ob 
servance. I hope that all that I have just said to you will 
be for you at the hour of death a subject of consolation, and 
not a subject of remorse. May you both recommend me to 



Letter 47. 109 

Jesus and to Mary; on my part, I will not forget you in my 
prayers. 

May Jesus be our love and Mary our hope ! 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 
After an old copy. 



LETTER 47. 
To Father Giulio Marocco. 

He expresses to him his satisfaction in knowing that he is 
resolved to persevere in his vocation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, July 12, [1740]. 

My dear Giulio: I have received your letter which we 
were longing to receive ; and it has consoled us all. This is 
enough to understand the rest. 

Dear Giulio, what frightened us in your letter was not so 
much the sentence : / wish first of all to see my health 
restored, as the sentence : for God has clearly made known 
to me that he wishes me to be in the Institute, not as a sick, 
but as a healthy man It is this thought joined to one of your 
old temptations already known, namely, that you are not 
made for the Institute if you are sick, it was this thought, I say, 
that frightened us. As for the words clearly made known, 
they made us think that you had consulted some rabbi. 
But let there be no more of this. We are all of us consoled, 
and our fear has rendered more intense our desire of seeing 
you very soon. 

For the rest, as this consolation to see us must necessarily 
be deferred, we as well as you must have patience. You 
may freely attend to the care of your health, as our Father 



i io General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

[Mgr. Falcoia] has already expressed this to you, and has, 
I believe, confirmed it in another letter. 

In regard to the Masses, please to answer Don Giovanni 
[Mazzini], 1 so as to take away all scruples. In short, do 
not give a thought as to whether or not you have celebrated 
the Masses, whether or not you have incurred expenses ; and I 
say again to you most sincerely that you may send me 
word for anything that you may need, and Jesus Christ will 
provide. 

You tell me not to write to you as I have done; and I beg 
Don Giulio, for pity s sake, not to write to me as he has 
done ; that he should not frighten us again, saying that he 
wished to leave us. Come now ! no more of this. Let the 
whole of what has been said be buried in the bottom of the 
sea. 

I shall read in recreation this evening your Maccaronica. 
In the mean time recommend me to Jesus Christ and write 
us where you are and how you are. 

I conclude by embracing you in the hearts of Jesus and 
of Mary. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble brother in Jesus and Mary, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original in possession of Don Pasquale Petrella, 
Primicerius of the Metropolitan Chapter of Capua. 

1 Father Giovanni Mazzini had the charge of applying the in 
tentions of the Masses. 



i74o. I Letter 49. in 

LETTER 48. 
To his Director Monsignor Tommaso Falcoia.i 

ClORANl, July 24, 1740. 

My dear Father : I am cold ; please send me a little 
of your fire; at least tell me what I have to do and bless 
me. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
Your very humble son, 

ALFONSO. 
After the original in the archives of Father General at Rome. 

LETTER 49. 
To Father Giulio Marocco. 

He tenderly exhorts him to return to Ciorani, as he is 
certain about his vocation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, August 2, [1740]. 

My dear Don Giulio: I fear that the letters that I am 
writing- to you at present are becoming wearisome to you. 
But what can I do ? The affection that I bear towards one 
of the first and oldest companions of this little Congregation 
impels me to write again. 

We have been expecting to receive from Naples the 
papers or the letters about which you wrote us, but nothing 
has yet come. 

What prompts me to write you to-day is a note of the 
Bishop of Caiazzo in which, writing to his sister, the Prioress 
of S. Giorgio, he says expressly of you : " Neither I nor 
any one else has put any obstacle in the way of Don 
Giulio s return to the Institute; on the contrary, I have 
been the first to urge him to enter it. Although I regarded 

1 This short note is the postcript to a letter of Don Cesare Sportelli, 
in which he announces to the bishop that on the 2ist of July all the 
Fathers and Brothers of Ciorani had made their profession. 



112 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

him not only as useful, but necessary, yet I did not wish to 
charge my conscience with scruples in regard to his 
vocation." 

Since now the bishop has approved your vocation, there 
is no longer any hindrance to your return. 

Your vocation was afterwards approved by Father Fiorillo 
to whom, as your director, you referred the matter. 

Monsignor Falcoia has found one of your notes in which you 
mention to him the resolution that you have made and the 
approbation that you have received. 

Not to weary you, what are you doing at Caiazzo? 
What resolution did you make? 

For pity s sake, do not take counsel at Naples, nor 
elsewhere, because if Mgr. Falcoia heard of this he would 
no more receive you. You were so detached from your 
relatives, why allow yourself to be overcome by the devil 
and the flesh? Do you wish to act as Alteriis 1 acted, 
whose behavior you once condemned? Nevertheless he had 
against him the archbishop, who obliged him to remain in 
his diocese. 

Do you perhaps believe that we shall not receive you 
with the same affection that we received you before? Here 
you will find more than brothers, more than a mother. 
Here all are sighing for you, although you have almost 
discarded us who are your companions. 

For pity s sake, do not give any more time to the 
enemy to gain you over. What a fine excuse you make 
about your family! Say to them that you wish to obtain 
counsel at Naples. But you should consult Jesus Christ 
and at once you would come to Ciorani. 

I beg you for the love of the Blessed Virgin to return 
immediately on receiving this letter. Who knows, if you 
were perhaps no longer in Caiazzo, you would be cured 

1 Michele de Alteriis, after having finished his novitiate, left the 
Congregation at the instance of his father. 



i74i.] Letter 50. 1 1 3 

of your infirmities ? We of course know that you will be 
nearly useless, but here you will find us all charity. And 
though you are useless, we receive and desire you, not 
because you are useless, but because you are our companion, 
and we do not wish you to be* separated from us. 

I have nothing more to say. After you have read this, 
consult the crucifix and take a resolution at the foot of it, 
but at once, and do not rise, I command you, before you have 
decided. And come just as you are. 1 Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very devoted father and brother in Jesus Christ, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original preserved in the diocese of Teano. 

LETTER 50. 
To Father Cesare Sportelli, at Ciorani. 

He begs him to write to several monasteries in favor of a 
religious vocation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

S. ANIELLO, 2 July 12, [1741]. 

Don C. has told me through D. G. that there is a good 
priest named D. L. who would come here ; he is most anxious 
to enter the Congregation; but he has with him a sister 
who is as pure as an angel. As she does not wish to marry, 
he is in search of a convent where she may enter as a 
lay-sister. 

I am going to write to Cava, to Fisciano, and to the 

1 This altogether paternal letter produced no effect upon Father 
Marocco ; after the lapse of one month he left definitely the Institute, 
to which he was, however, not bound by any vow. 

2 Sant Aniello, a village in the neighborhood of Naples, where 
the saint remained for the mission to be given in the suburbs of the 
city. 



114 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

convent of the Purita at Nocera. Let Father Andrea 
[Villani] be so kind as to write in my name to the Carmelites 
at Pagani and to those at Penta. Let him also write to the 
Carmelites at Solofra and ask Vigilante to engage the 
services of the primicerius who has great influence. 

I hope your Reverence will also do me the favor of writing 
to these three places : to San Giorgio, to endeavor to gain 
over Polichetti; to Solofra, to the Franciscan Sisters; to 
Nocera ; to the Convent of St. Clare at Nocera. Write also 
to Tripaldi, and even, if you think it advisable, to Serino. 
You must say that she is my penitent ; that she is truly an 
angel from Paradise, but poor in this world s goods; and 
that it is I myself that urges her case most strongly. 
Please write these letters very soon, and have them forwarded 
at once. 

I embrace you all in Jesus and Mary. Let Father Xavier 
not tire himself too much before he has fully regained 
his health. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 51. 

To the Priest Don Giuseppe Sparano, 1 at Naples. 
He asks him to come to him for a moment s interview. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

S. ANIELLO, July 29, [1741]. 

My dear Don Giuseppe : I should like to ask an important 
favor of you. If you would be kind enough when you go 

1 The priest D. Giuseppe Sparano, always a great friend of our 
saint, was born at Naples, December 22, 1709. In 1743 on account 
of his rare qualities he was chosen Canon of the Metropolitan 
church, synodal examiner, and later Superior of the Congregation 
of the Apostolic Missions, called Propaganda. In 1758, he published 
his " Historical Memoirs of the Church of Naples, and of that 



1742. j Letter 52. 1 1 5 

to S. Aniello on your way to S. Sebastiano to grant me a 
moment s interview, you would do me a great favor. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
Your very devoted and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 52. 
To Father Cesare Sportelli, at Ciorani. 

He expresses to him his desire of promptly returning to 
Ciorani. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

S. ANIELLO, June 22, [1742], 

My dear Father Cesare : If you do not send me Brother 
Gennaro [Rendina], I shall not be able to send you Brother 
Leonardo [Cicchetti] ; for it is impossible for one Brother to 
work in the kitchen, to make purchases, and to serve the 
great number of Masses that are said here. 

Nothing new has occurred here. Father Giovanni [Mazzini] 
is better. About July 3, he will go first to Castellammare 
and then to Ciorani. 

Let all of you recommend me to Jesus Christ, and do so 
especially during the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Tell all 
that they should pray to our Lord that if it be conducive to 
his glory, he may deliver, me from Naples. 1 

The Cardinal has not yet returned; when he returns, I 
will speak to him. I am, however, afraid, that he will not 
allow us to go away for good ; we shall likely have to come 

of the Congregation of the Apostolic Missions" (2 vols.) May 29, 
1775, he was preconized Archbishop of Acerenza and Matera, and 
died the following year. 

1 Cardinal Spinelli refused to let St. Alphonsus depart, as he had 
placed the direction of the diocesan missions in his charge. 



n 6 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

and go, as the saying is. I remain, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 



LETTER 53. 

To the Same. 

Various requests to be forwarded to Mgr. Falcoia. 

[ClORANl, October 26, 1742.] 

I wish to tell you that yesterday morning, 

through the mercy of Jesus Christ, the Archbishop [of 
Salerno] sent us twenty ducats 1 as an alms, and published 
at the same time an order that all the candidates for 
ordination and those in sacris [in Orders] are to make a 
retreat of ten days, either at Ciorani or at the Vergini. 2 
Now since it would seem strange and improper to counter 
mand the exercises in accordance with what our Father 
[Mgr. Falcoia] has ordered, after they have been arranged, 
what is to be done? This Don Xavier [Rossi] would like to 
know, so as to prepare the house. He desires permission 
to make the necessary arrangements, and see to the removal 
of the prohibition to do the slightest work on the new 
building. 

As for the missions, there are three to be given at Mon- 
tuoro, which I should like to give consecutively; it would 
please me very much if your Reverence were to come. 
Write to our Father and send me as quickly as possible 
his answer, whether he wishes us to begin on All Saints, or 
at some other time appointed by him 

Transcribed by Father Sportelli in a letter addressed by 
him to Mgr. Falcoia, October 27, 1742. 

1 About 85 francs. 

2 This was the residence of the Lazarists, named from the quarter 
where they lived. 



1742.] Letter 54. 1 1 7 

LETTER 54. 

To Don Matteo Greco. 

Method of making mental prayer. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

December 10, 1742. 

Abridgment of a method of making mental prayer. 
Mental prayer has three parts ; namely : preparation, 
meditation, and conclusion. 

I. As to the preparation, it contains three acts: i. Of 
faith, in adoring God who is present; 2. Of humility, in 
humbling ourselves before God and asking his pardon ; 3. 
Of petition for light, in asking God for light for the love 
of Jesus and Mary, so as. to -make the meditation well. 

Having then said a Hail Mary to the Blessed Virgin, we 
pass on to the meditation. 

II. In regard to meditation, we must note several things: 
First, it is well for us to read that point of the meditation 

which makes us more recollected, and on which we are 
more inclined to think ; but when we find ourselves moved 
by some pious sentiment, we should then cease to read 
and should occupy ourselves with gathering the fruits of the 
meditation which are as follows : 

There are three fruits of meditation; namely: (i) the 
affections, (2) prayers, and (3) resolutions. 

As for the i., the will of the soul should occupy itself 
sweetly, without violence in making affections towards Jesus 
and Mary, etc., acts of confidence, humility, contrition, 
love, resignation, or oblation, etc.; since the affections are 
inflamed in meditation, the soul is also inflamed and unites 
itself to God. This is the principal fruit of meditation. 

As to the 2., the soul should try to obtain from Jesus and 
Mary, etc., the graces that it needs, not only in general, 
but in particular, as the conquering of some vice, the love 



1 1 8 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

of God, holy perseverance, etc. And such a method 
of making meditation is very useful, and even necessary, 
especially during the time of aridity, or when our affections 
are not moved. Then it is best for us to humble ourselves, 
be resigned, and ask the divine Goodness for mercy ; other 
wise there is the danger that we either give up meditation 
because it is tedious, or derive very little profit from it. 

As to the 3., before finishing the meditation we should 
always make or renew some particular resolution of over 
coming some more than ordinary defect or practise some 
virtue that is more useful to us. 

III. As regards the conclusion, it is made briefly by 
these acts : 

1. We should thank Jesus and Mary for the lights re 
ceived. 

2. We should offer to God through Jesus and Mary the 
acts and the resolutions that we have made. 

We should pray to the Lord through the love of Jesus 
and Mary to give us strength to keep our resolutions. 

As to speaking more fully about meditation, and the 
method of making it, we may read the " Guida spirituale" 
[Spiritual Guide], of [Ludovico] da Ponte, or the "Mondo 
santificato" [World Sanctified], of Sarnelli. 1 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original preserved at Salerno , in possession 
of Signora D. Angiolina Gargano, nee Greco. 

1 A work written by Ven. Gennaro Sarnelli, 2 vols. in I2mo 
(Naples, Festa Brothers.) 



I742.J Letter 55. 1 1 9 

LETTER 55. 

To the King of Naples. 

Petition for a foundation of a house at Pagani. 

[Towards the end of the year 1742.] 

We the undersigned secular priests, Alfonso de Liguori, 
Cesare Sportelli, Giovanni Mazzini, Andrea Villani, who 
with other companions are united in the sentiments of mutual 
chanty and zeal for the salvation of souls, especially of the 
most abandoned that live in the country and poor hamlets, 
where the necessity is very great and the spiritual help is 
very little, most humbly represent to your Majesty the 
following facts : 

Since the year 1732, we have been living together for the 
before-mentioned end, in the city of Scala, in a church and 
house, to the great profit of its people. But as we have 
found out that the situation, owing to the rugged mountains, 
is most inconvenient to the people who are desirous of being 
benefited by our services, and is most injurious to the 
health of the subjects who have become ill, because of the 
great cold that exists there, we are anxious to build at 
Nocera de Pagani, at some distance from the inhabited 
places, a house and a chapel to which the people of the 
surrounding country may easily come and find the spiritual 
help necessary for their souls. We therefore supplicate the 
clemency of your Majesty to deign to grant us permission 
to erect for the end mentioned the aforesaid house and 
chapel, being ready to leave them at the least sign of your 
Majesty, of whose great piety and zeal for the salvation 
of the souls of your beloved vassals we hope to obtain the 
favor asked. 

In the mean time, humbly prostrate before your royal 
throne, we promise that we shall always pray to the divine 
Majesty for the welfare of your kingdom. 

After an old copy. 



1 20 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 56. 
To his Father D. Giuseppe de Liguori. 

He informs him of the state of his health. - - Various 
counsels. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, March 28, [1743?]. 

I received your esteemed letter, as also the chocolate, 
for which I thank you very much. Through the grace 
of Jesus Christ I find myself in good health, and to-morrow 
I shall go to Salerno to give the retreat to the clergy. 
Affairs here are in the same state. 

If you wish to buy some lives of the saints, buy the large 
Life of St. Aloysius de Gonzaga, which has just been published ; 
the Life of St. Philip Neri, and if you can find it, the Life 
of St. Pascale or of St. Peter of Alcantara. Procure also a 
little book called the "Eternal Truths," by Rossignoli, and 
the " Eternal Maxims," by Cattaneo. 

I conclude by prostrating myself at your feet and asking 
you for your blessing. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 57. 
To Father Cesare Sportelli, Superior of the House at Pagani. 

The saint furnishes him with arguments against the ad 
versaries of the Community of Pagani. 1 

[CIORANI, 1744.] 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

This morning I was in so great trouble and haste that 
I forgot to send you the treatise on alms which I think 
you would like to have. 

1 To understand the reason for the citations given here, it is 
necessary to consult what Tannoia in his " Life of St. Alphonsus" 



I744-] Letter 57. 1 2 1 

Passerini says (Book vi. of the Decretals) : We give 
the name damage only to that which injures a right 
acqidred, and not to that which may injure a contingent 
right. Consequently it matters little whether certain persons 
should no longer receive the alms that they now receive, for 
these depend on the free will of the donors}- Resting on 
this saying, he quotes a number of Doctors whose names I 
have not set down, and brings forward decision 32 of the 
Rota, n. 32 and 33, part 9, Recentiorum. 

Speaking specially of the opposition made by the parish 
priests, he says : Even should the parish see that the alms 
are failing it, one should prefer the spiritual profit to the 
profit proceeding from the alms; otherwise no religious 
Order could be anywhere established? 1 He cites in support 
of this Pasqualigo and Frances. 

In a word, he says that what should be well considered is 
the spiritual good that is done to the places* And this point 
having been once established, the bishop is not even obliged 
to call together those that are interested.^ He says this at 

has written of the opposition made to the Fathers of the Institute, in 
order to crush the new foundation at Pagani: "To jealousy there 
were added wrath and rancor; self-interest also came into play. 
When the Regulars perceived the great veneration and deference 
paid to our members, they began to persuade themselves that their 
daily alms were on the point of ceasing ; in the same manner the 
priests feared that all legacies, not only Masses that might be said, 
but donations, etc., would flow into the coffers of the missionaries. 
Thus self-interest and jealousy took possession of the hearts of the 
clergy. And in a short time seculars were also infected with the 
poison " Book ii. chap. xvii. 

1 " Detrimentum consideramus in jure qucesito, et non qucerendo \ 
v.nde non est attendendum quod alii non recipiunt eleemosynas, 
quas in proesenti recipiunt, quia hoe sunt in libertate elargientium." 
Cap. un. De excess. Prcelat. n. 49, torn. 3). 

% "Prreferentes est profectus spiritualis lucro eleemosynarum ; 
aliter nulla Religio ullibi erigi posset." A T um. 55, d. 1. 

3 " Attendendum est utile locorum spirituale." Num. 68. 

4 " Ad vocandum interesse habentes." 



122 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

n. 37. resting on decision 742 of the Rcta, part 2, Recent. 
And the bishop is not obliged to institute a process^ - 
Pignatelli is of the same opinion as Cespedes, Donato, 
Lezana, and Pasqualigo, who say: It is not necessary to 
institute a tribunal if the place is rich enough that all 
may find a means of living? 

On this same subject of alms Rotario (Theol. Moral. 
Regularium lib. 3, cap. 5, punct. 4, n. 3), cites a decision 
of Farinaccio (torn. 2, part. 2, decis. 745) by which, not 
withstanding the opposition of the interested parties who 
were besides mendicant religious, a new convent could be 
established with the right of having Masses and burials. 
The reason alleged was that things of this kind were left free 
to every one. 

Tamburini, Cespedes, Bordoni, cited by Pignatelli (d. 1. 
n. 54), also say that no regard should be had to the di 
minution of alms; for these being naturally very uncertain, 
there exists only an accidental damage? They adduce in 
proof the decision 745, adding with Alexander: One should 
not on account of an imaginary diminution of alms hinder 
a public work of public utility.^ 

Still, it is true, that Pignatelli is of a contrary opinion, as 
he brings forward a decision of the Rota; but there was 
question of building a new monastery with all its immunities 
and privileges, especially the privilege of saying Mass 
before the parochial Mass had been said. 

The decision was given in this sense on account of the 
proximity of the two churches ; and Don Andrea was told 

1 " Nee tenere formare processum." 

2 " Non est necessaria citatio, si opulentia loci satis est ad susten- 
tationem omnium." Tom. I, consult. 179, num. 50. 

3 " Diminutio eleemosynarum, cum sint valcle incerta, idcirco est 
proejudicium accidentale." 

1 " Ob imaginariam diminutionem eleemosynarum, non est im- 
pediendum opus publicum in publicam utilitatem." 



1744- ] Letter 57. 1 2 3 

at Salerno that this practice obtained in France where affairs 
are regulated in a different manner. 

If you still desire texts, I will send them to you afterwards. 

It is very necessary at this juncture to be as careful as 
possible not to offend the bishop or the vicar. I say, as 
careful as possible, for it would be folly to lose their favor 
at present. Try then to obtain justice more by love than 
by fear. 

With regard to appeals, it is necessary to ponder that 
point well, otherwise we should give offence to the bishop. 

If there even be a contrary decree of Nihil innovare [no 
innovation], one may have recourse to Contrario Imperio 
[contrary judgment], Reclamazione [counter claims], etc. 
Then in case of extreme necessity recourse may be had to the 
power of appeal. 

If I find a good opportunity, I will send you the authentic 
Act. 1 

May Jesus and Mary bless us all. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Try to collect as many proofs as you can, showing the 
great number of Masses. You will see that our adversaries 
will try to make capital out of the decrease in the number 
of Masses and in the concourse of the people, basing their 
arguments on Pignatelli , etc. , as in the decision given 
above. 

Then you must come out boldly with Passerini, Rotario, 
and the decision of Farinaccio, quoted by the latter. 

You can reply in regard to the decision of Pignatelli that 
there existed particular circumstances, and that, moreover, 
there was question of a new monastery with its immunities 
and privileges. 

Moreover, Passerini says that the Bull of Pope Gregory 
[XV.] without regard to the diminution of alms, requires 

1 That is to say, the decree by which the Bishop of Nocera, Mgr. 
Nicolo di Dominicis, approved of the establishment of the house and 
church at Pagani. 



124 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

only that no positive wrong should be done to those that 
had established themselves before. 

If it be in any way possible, do not mention Pignatelli. 

Remember that a Nihil mnovetur 1 [prohibition to do 
anything new] would not at present prevent us from building, 
as the request was to the effect that the blessing of the 
church should be impeded. 

I do not as yet send the report 2 of the blessing, because 
the bearer is a mere boy. I shall wait for a better opportunity. 
Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Do not forget the man who wished to give three hundred 
ducats; he should begin to give something as soon as 
possible. You have to work hard ; for it is necessary that 
the work on the church be hastened; Don Xavier [Rossi] 
torments me, as he finds himself very much embarrassed ; 
he does not know where to borrow more money. Live 
Jesus and Mary ! 

Your brother and servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original in the possession of Father Cosma 
Lojodice, an Augustinian. 

1 The adversaries of the Congregation, in fact, obtained from the 
royal counsel a decision forbidding anything new to be done. 
Tannoia, book ii. chap. xxii. 

2 In this Act the bishop speaks of the blessing of the first stone 
of the church: "The blessing," says the prelate, "which we charged 
our Vicar-general, Don Nicola Ferri, to give, was in fact solemnly 
given in the month of last June, in the midst of a large number 
of people whose transports of joy recalled those of David singing 
and dancing before the Ark of the Lord. . . ." 



I744-] Letter 58. 125 

LETTER 58. 

To Nicola Maria Celestino de Robertis. 1 
Exhortation to correspond at once to God s call. 

Praised be the Most Blessed Sacrament, and Mary Im 
maculate ! 2 

ClORANl, March 15, 1744. 

Having had knowledge of your good resolution or rather 
inclination as to your vocation, I have been astonished that 
you have communicated it to others and not to me whom as 
the Superior it concerned principally. It has also been the 
cause of no little regret that you have been advised to wait 
a long time before you follow your vocation, as this would 
expose you to the great danger of losing it. For in matters 
of this kind when the devil is not able to divert one entirely 
from carrying out a good design, he nevertheless aims at 
inducing one to defer it. He has then succeeded many a 
time in making one lose the best vocation. 

After what I have heard, your vocation in view of the 
circumstances appears to me as evidently to have come 

1 The following notice may be read in the catalogue of the 
Congregation about this holy subject: "July 10, 1745, there was 
admitted into the novitiate Celestino de Robertis, born May 19, 
1719, in the town of Sieti, district of Giffoni, in the diocese and 
province of Salerno, not having yet received any of the Holy Orders. 
He made his profession into the hands of our Father, July 9, 1746, 
in our house of Santa Maria della Consolazione, at Iliceto. He died 
in the odor of sanctity in our house at Caposele, April 20, 1807. He 
so loved the Blessed Virgin that with one of his little pictures he 
worked prodigies, and when he desired to receive graces from her he 
used to say: Do me this favor. He spent the greatest part of the 
day in prayer." 

2 The saint was then occupied in writing the little work " The 
Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament, and to the Blessed Virgin, for 
Every Day in the Month." He therefore changed his usual ex 
clamation "Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa!" into this: 
" Praised be the Most Holy Sacrament, and Mary Immaculate !" 



126 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

from God. It is, therefore, certain that your salvation 
depends on your fidelity in following it. Hence I wish you 
to come as soon as possible to have an interview with me, as 
I hope to be able to shorten your road considerably, 
provided you persevere in the good sentiments you now 
exhibit. As soon as you have decided on the course you 
wish to pursue, there will not be wanting to you such 
facilities as will aid you to come to me by visiting some 
place in the neighborhood, by offering as pretext that you 
wish to speak about some scruple of conscience, or by 
saying that you wish to make a day s retreat. You are old 
enough and you possess common sense; you will surely 
find some way of coming to see me. You also know that 
in such cases when there is question of obeying the voice 
of God one must be courageous and do violence to one s self, 
and that it does not matter whether or not we displease our 
relatives, provided only we please God and secure the 
salvation of our souls. 

I fear that my letter may be of no benefit to you, since 
having been advised to put off for a long time the step you 
intended to take, you have either changed your mind or 
you have allowed your fervor to cool. This will not matter, 
as my letter will at least recall to your mind the voice which 
Jesus Christ has made you hear, telling you that you 
should belong entirely to him, or these lines will enable 
you to perceive the desire I have to confirm you in your 
resolution. Moreover, if you cannot come at once, please 
send an answer to me in the same way that I shall employ 
in forwarding this letter to you, in order that I may learn 
whether you still persevere in your sentiments and whether 
I may not assist you according to my power. In the mean 
time I beg you again to recommend yourself in this matter 
to Jesus Christ in your holy Communions and in your daily 
prayers; for I have confidence that you have not given up 
the practice of prayer. If you have, however, omitted 



I744-] Letter 58. 127 

prayer you must again devote yourself to it with renewed 
fervor, especially in order that you may succeed in carrying 
out your design. Begin, besides, a novena in honor of the 
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin that she may 
inspire you to do what will be conducive to your eternal 
salvation, and what will console you most at the hour 
of death. 

I do not doubt that you will favorably receive this letter 
which gives testimony of the esteem in which I hold you 
personally, and of the great desire I have of seeing you 
belong entirely to God. I earnestly recommend to you to 
keep secret this letter and your vocation from every one, 
whoever he may be ; because when such things are once 
manifested, the devil always finds means of opposing you 
or at least of cooling your ardor by beginning himself to 
talk by the mouth of others. O how many have lost their 
vocation in this way ! God grant that you may not also 
relax in your fervor ! 

What I have written must suffice for the present. I 
depend upon receiving an answer from you as soon as 
possible. Should you be at Naples or at Sieti, you 
will please inform me which is the surest way to write to 
you and to answer you, and in which place at Naples I may 
address an answer to you when you write to me. Yet I 
would rather have you come yourself. Let this be enough ! 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! I remain 

Your very devoted and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour, 

fiector Major, 

After an old copy.. 



128 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 59. 
To the Same. 

He invites him to an interview. Means that he should 
use not to lose his vocation. 

Praised be the Most Holy Sacrament, and Mary Im 
maculate ! 

CiORANl, April 7, 1744. 

Just this morning I received your esteemed favor, and I 
am happy to hear that up to the present time you have 
preserved the good sentiments with which you were inspired 
during the retreat. Had you spoken to me at that time, 
you would now perhaps have already left Egypt. It would 
be useless for me to say more; for in order to use the 
shortest way in this matter, we must have absolutely a 
personal interview. 

We expect that by Saturday the passage of the Span 
iards J will be over. I therefore expect you here without 
fail during the following week. Come on some pretext or 
other by way of Salerno. 

I see that your resolution is as firm as ever; it is, there 
fore, evident to me that your vocation comes from God. 
For this reason if you do not now follow it, you will have 
to fear a great chastisement ; for the Lord punishes severely 
those that despise these extraordinary graces, graces that 
are too precious to be given to every one. 

When therefore you receive this letter, you must again 
give yourself entirely to God, putting yourself wholly into 
his hands, and showing your readiness to do all that I may 
counsel you. Then you must come with the firm resolution 
of entirely submitting your will to mine, as well in re 
gard to the substance of your vocation, as also in regard 

1 At this time there were many warlike movements of the Spanish 
troops in consequence of the death of Charles VI., as the Austrians 
were menacing the Neapolitan territory. 



I744-] Letter 59. 129 

to the manner and the time of carrying it out. This de 
termination is necessary for you in order to realize so 
important a resolution; otherwise you would furnish the 
devil with the means either to disquiet you for the future or 
to make you delay so long till you lose your vocation, as 
has happened to so many others. Come, therefore, as 
soon as possible ; do not lose a moment. You will not be 
the first that has been admitted here as a secular without 
having yet received any of the Holy Orders, provided only 
the requisite conditions are at hand, together with the firm 
will of belonging entirely to God. A few days ago there 
were received among us several young persons who left 
their homes without saying anything to their parents of 
what they intended to do. We are by no means obliged to 
manifest to them such a vocation, because by such a 
communication we run the risk of losing our vocation, and 
without the special assistance of God our eternal salvation. 

Tread, therefore, under-foot all tender affections for your 
parents, and become courageous. God calls you not to 
some earthly dignity, but he calls you to the great dignity 
of being a saint. You must know how to respond to this 
appeal, and you will soon see how the Lord, who is so 
generous and so faithful, will favor you with new graces, 
which he has already prepared for you. Courage, then ! 
consider that for this God who is so worthy of being loved, 
and who has done so much for our souls, all that we can 
do, even the sacrifice of our lives, is indeed very little. 
Endeavor to take generously this step on which depend 
both your predestination and the plenitude of the favors 
that God has reserved for you in time and in eternity. 

Here are a few things that I wish you to observe during 
the days that will elapse before you come : Do not cease to 
recommend this matter to God either before the Blessed 
Sacrament or before the crucifix in your room. Endeavor 
to avoid all conversation, and spend as much as possible all 
9 



130 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

your time in spiritual reading and in prayer. Receive as 
often as possible holy Communion, for you need special 
strength in order to remove the obstacles that hell will put 
in your way. God only can give you this strength. If it 
happens that your resolution should grow a little weak, 
have recourse at once to the Blessed Virgin, and say to 
her : O Mary Immaculate ! do not abandon me ; obtain for 
me the grace to remain faithful to God. -- Then address 
the following words to God : O Lord ! I no longer belong 
to myself; I have given myself entirely to Thee; give me 
the needed strength. If you act thus you will always 
surely gain the victory. 

I hope that you will with pleasure learn from this letter 
the desire that I have of seeing you a saint and belonging 
entirely to God ; and on your part, you must pray to Jesus 
Christ to make me what I wish you to be. I close this 
letter by informing you that my companions as well as 
myself are impatiently waiting for you. I am, etc. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Recommend yourself to St. Stanislas Kostka that he 
may obtain for you the strength to correspond to your 
vocation as he did. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

In order that this letter may arrive without delay I shall 
send it to Sieti. If you have not time to answer it, it will 
not matter. I shall be satisfied if you only receive my 
letter, and if you come to us with the same sentiments that 
you have expressed in your letter. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Your very devoted and very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

Rector Major. 

After an old copy. 



I744-] Letter 60. 131 

LETTER 60. 
To Canon Giuseppe Sparano, at S. Restituta at Naples. 

He sends him a sketch of the life of the Venerable Gennaro 
Maria Sarnelli to have it printed. 

Praised be the Most Blessed Sacrament and Mary Im 
maculate ! 

ClORANl, July 17, 1744. 

Very Reverend and Dear Sir: Canon Sersale 1 has re 
quested me to write the biography of Don Gennaro of happy 
memory, and mentioned to me that the Congregation 2 
wished to have it printed together with the biography 
of Carace. 3 I have already written it, and have sent it to 
Canon Rosa, the Father Superior. Sersale told me that 
you would take care of the rest; I therefore beg you to 
make corrections in the manuscript as appears best to you, 
and especially to correct the mistakes that may be found 
therein ; for I had one of our lay-brothers to copy it, and 
the time for the courier to start is at hand and I cannot 
revise it. What I ask of you particularly is to urge the 
gentlemen of the Congregation to have the work printed. 
This is properly our duty, but God knows how poor 
we are and if Don Gennaro has left us his books, it is 
at the price of many legal incumbrances and expenses to 
us. I know that your Reverence has great influence; I 
earnestly entreat you to do whatever you can. This 
publication will not only serve to increase the honor of the 
Congregation, but it will be of great profit to many readers. 
Your Reverence loved Sarnelli when he was living; you 

1 Giuseppe Sersale, at that time Canon of the metropolitan church 
at Naples and later Archbishop of Sorrento, was a great friend 
of St. Alphonsus and of the Venerable Sarnelli. 

2 The Congregation of the apostolic missions to which the Venerable 
Father Sarnelli belonged. 

3 Tommaso Carace, a member of the same Congregation. 



132 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

should love him more after his death, since he died a saint. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! Wishing you to 
send me an answer and to recommend me to Jesus Christ, 
I remain with profound respect, 
Your very grateful and very devoted servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 6l. 
To the Same. 

He sends him the manuscript of the little book entitled 
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin, 
and asks him to revise it. 

Praised be the Most Holy Sacrament and Mary Im 
maculate ! 

CIORANI, August 10, 1744. 

My dear Canon : I have requested Canon Torni to intrust 
the revision of this little book on the Blessed Sacrament and 
the Blessed Virgin to none but yourself, being confident 
that you would soon attend to this matter. I therefore beg 
you to lay aside everything else so as to finish the task, 
because a pious layman has promised to pay for the printing 
and I fear that if there is a delay the money destined for 
this purpose will be spent ; and then there will be no more 
question of having the book printed. I believe that the 
little book will be very useful for those that wish to make a 
visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed 
Virgin, and I must say that I have seen nothing like it, and 
this was the reason why I composed it. 

I, moreover, intrusted it to your Reverence because it 
was badly copied, and I was so hurried that I could not 
have it again copied. You will have the patience to read it 
as it is. I shall say no more, and I hope that you w r ill 



1744- ] Letter 62. 133 

render me this service promptly. As for the visits that are 
still wanting, I will send them afterwards, because I am 
anxious that the printing of the book should soon begin ; 
because that pious layman is so much interested in the 
matter. As to yourself, you will have to receive your pay 
from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and from the Blessed 
Virgin. I have written it in a very simple style. Your 
Reverence will please make the corrections that shall appear 
to you to be necessary, but do not trouble yourself about 
too much elegance. 

I have sent you the biography of Sarnelli [Venerable 
Gennaro]. Recommend me to Jesus Christ; and tell the 
bearer of my letter on what day he may return to deliver the 
manuscript to be printed. Perhaps the royal approbation is 
not needed for this little book; but if it should be required, 
tell the printer to see that it be procured. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! Believe me, 

Your very devoted, very humble, 
and very grateful servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original in possession of Father Francis Xavier 
Pecorelli, C. SS. R. 

LETTER 62. 
To a Minister of the King. 

A petition asking for his protection in favor of the house at 
Nocera (Pagani). 

[ I 744-] 

Your Excellency: Alfonso de Liguori and Cesare Spor- 
telli, who with other priests are united in mutual charity, 
humbly represent to your Excellency the following facts : 

Monsignor de Dominicis, Bishop of Nocera, having 
represented to his Majesty (may God preserve him !) that 



134 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

he had succeeded in introducing into his diocese the suppli 
ants to labor for the salvation of souls, supplicated his 
Majesty to grant to the same priests the power of building 
a house and a public chapel, near Pagani at some distance 
from the city. His royal piety agreed to this project, and was 
moved to give his consent by issuing the subjoined copy 
of a royal decree. In the execution of the most revered 
orders of his Majesty those priests began in the past year, to 
build and have at present finished the said chapel and 
house, having in view the good of the diocese, and con 
forming themselves in everything to the instructions given. 
But evil-disposed persons are trying, we are told, to molest 
and to disturb them in their holy exercises, exhortations, 
sermons, and other spiritual works; they act against the 
orders given by his Majesty, as appears from the subjoined 
copy of the royal ordinance directed to the governor 
of Nocera. 

The undersigned therefore, have recourse to your Ex 
cellency, and beg you to give orders that we may be no 
longer molested nor disquieted in regard to the before- 
mentioned house. Their request is so well-founded that the 
neighboring hamlets, containing about twenty-five thousand 
souls, are anxious to receive spiritual help, as may be seen 
from the annexed testimony of all the municipalities of 
Nocera united. 1 And for this favor which you will grant them 
they will pray that God may reward you. 

After the original, sketched partly by the hand of the saint 
and preserved in the archives of Father General at Rome. 

1 They were seven in all. 



I744-] Letter 6 3- 135 



LETTER 63. 
To a Gentleman of Influence. 

Another petition in favor of the same house at Nocera 
(Pagani). 

[I744-] 

In the year 1732, Alfonso de Liguori, a priest and 
Neapolitan patrician, and other secular priests began to 
live together in Community in the diocese of Scala by the 
authority of the bishop and under the direction of Monsignor 
Falcoia, Bishop of Castellammare (of happy memory). Their 
principal aim was by missions and by preaching in their 
own church to devote themselves to the spiritual good 
of the people in the country, who usually are the most 
needy and mostly deprived of spiritual help. In the 
year 1736 they proceeded to the diocese of Salerno where, 
in a place called Ciorani, by the authority of Monsignor 
Fabrizio di Capua, at that time archbishop of Salerno, they 
built a house and a church whence the above-mentioned 
priests constantly went forth to give missions, not only in 
the said diocese but in many other dioceses, and whither to 
make the spiritual exercises the Ordinary always sends his 
clergy and those that are to be ordained either at the time 
of an ordination, or at other times during the year. For 
this reason the present Bishop of Nocera called the said 
priests into his diocese, assigning to them a small house 
and church in a place called Pagani. Here with the royal 
consent as well as with that of the citizens, they built a little 
church and a residence for their own use. In this city and 
diocese they consecrate themselves to the service of souls 
by preaching, by hearing confessions, by giving missions 
and other spiritual exercises, as may be learned from the 
above-mentioned bishop. Now some sons of iniquity, moved 
by various pretexts, are trying to hinder the aforesaid 



136 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

exercises, so necessary for the salvation of souls, and are 
striving by cunning and violence to drive away those priests 
from the above-mentioned place. This being against all 
reason and against natural and divine right, the petitioners 
have recourse to your eminent piety, zeal and protection, so 
that you may defend not only the cause of the said priests, 
but the honor of God and the salvation of souls. 

After an original draft preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 64. 

To Canon Casati,! a t Iliceto. 
He announces to him his approaching arrival. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

NAPLES, November 28, 1744. 

Very Reverend and Dear Sir: Through Signer Andrea 
Calvini I have been informed of the very pious desire 
entertained by your Reverence. I am going to give a 
mission at Iliceto about the nth or i2th of next month by 
request of the prince. 2 I therefore do not say more, 
because we shall speak of everything when we meet. In 
the mean time, I devote myself entirely to your service, and 
and beg you to recommend me to Jesus Christ ! Live Jesus, 
Mary, and Joseph ! I remain, 

Your very devoted and very humble servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original in possession of Sister Alfonsa Maria de 
Gesu, discalced Carmelite at Palermo. 

1 Giacomo Casati was Canon of the collegiate church at Iliceto, in 
the diocese of Bovino. 

2 The Prince of Castellaneta, D. Mattia Mirohallo d Aragona, had 
asked St. Alphonsus to give a mission at Iliceto. 



1744- ] Letter 65. 137 

LETTER 65. 
To Father Xavier Rossi, 1 at Ciorani. 

Details in regard to the new foundation at Iliceto. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

[SANTA MARIA BELLA CONSOLAZIONE] December 19, 1744. 

Let us thank Jesus and Mary for having deigned to 
conclude the founding of the new house, Santa Maria 
della Consolazione, within a space of eight days. Canon 
Casati made out this morning the donation inter vivos 
[among the living] putting us also in possession of the 
property that he gives us. The Bishop [of Bovino, the 
Venerable Antonio Lucci], has already ceded the place to 
us; and the Chapter, which here represents the parish 
priest, has given its consent together with the municipality. 

The revenues from the donations given us amount to 
about three hundred ducats, in return for which we must say 
two Masses daily. We have also a fine apartment, suitable 
for a library, and the faculty of employing the revenues 
of this donation to establish two patrimonies for the members 
of our Institute. 

The property that we have received consists of more than 
seven hundred acres of arable land, of a vineyard, and 
of some houses together with a grove of olive trees. 

Moreover, Canon Maffei has promised us a free benefice 
with an annual income of twenty -two ducats. 

Thus the house of our Lady has an income of about 

1 Father Xavier Rossi was born in the year 1706 ; he entered the 
Congregation a year after its foundation. He applied himself from 
the beginning to a perfect imitation of Jesus Christ, our Lord. He 
passed almost his whole life at Ciorani ; confiding only in divine 
Providence, he began the building of the house into which he 
afterwards introduced the great work of the spiritual exercises. 
This great servant of God died in 1758 while looking fixedly at the 
images of Jesus and Mary. 



138 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

thirty ducats, and if at least a part of the soil be worked 
under the superintendence of a Brother, it might yield six 
hundred ducats. This would moreover not be inconvenient, 
as the property lies close to the house. 

We were received here by all, by the bishop, by priests 
and by laymen as angels from Paradise; they continually 
thank Jesus Christ for our arrival. Canon Maffei in par 
ticular is overjoyed. There is therefore every hope that the 
Prince [of Castellaneta] on his arrival will assure us an 
annual income. I do not speak of a well-founded hope 
of having a fine revenue of three hundred ducats a year 
furnished by the inhabitants of the Abbruzzi. 

The people here are very affectionate and docile; there 
are few houses of middle rank; nearly all are country 
people; they are inclined to be pious; few sins are com 
mitted. 

The country is fertile and produces everything: wood, 
wheat, grain, vegetables, good wines, excellent cheese, and 
an abundance of good fruit. Here are cows, sheep, and 
goats, and a kind of cheese, the like of which I have never 
before tasted. The air is very good and very mild. In 
our place there is water that might be called water from 
Paradise, together with a fountain of the Madonna; sur 
rounding the latter is a little fish-pond, by which we can 
always water our garden and keep it clad in bright verdure. 

[Here a part is missing.] 

The founder has reserved to himself the usufruct of the 
property, but he has promised us fifty-six ducats a year on 
condition that we say a Mass daily. Then there are the 
benefice of Maffei and the profits accruing from the land 
of the Madonna. It is certain that you will have to live in 
the mean time on slender means. But God is ever near to 
assist us. Go on cheerfully. We shall always be beggars 
in this life. 

Before the mission of Modugno, I shall go to Foggia to 



1744- ] Letter 65. 139 

speak to the President and to the Bishop 1 of Foggia to 
obtain permission to give a course of missions to the in 
habitants of the Abbruzzi, for I have this very much at 
heart. I have been informed that the President expects us. 

As for the missions at Mirabella, about which I wrote to 
you, I have learned that it will not be necessary to go there 
as the bishop is sending the Pious Workers who are at 
present giving a mission at Buellino. Don Andrea [Villani] 
and Don Cesare [Sportelli] can then devote themselves 
entirely to the missions that are given in this place. 

Send thither Don Bernardo [Tortora], Don Ignazio 2 and 
Brother Romoaldo with two measures of chestnuts and one 
measure of walnuts. They may take the mules of Bracigliano. 

I am thinking of taking up my residence then in the 
house of the Madonna, at least for some time, until affairs 
are in order. Don Andrea is to be for the present Rector 
and Master of novices at Ciorani, and your Reverence, 
Minister and Econome. Have a little patience while there, 
for in a short time you have to be at Iliceto. As soon as 
matters are settled at Nocera if God wishes to have them 
settled Don Cesare, in compliance with the letter which 
I have written to him, will go as Minister to Iliceto, and 
Don Giovanni [Mazzini] will remain at Pagani as Rector; 
Don Carmine [Fiocchi] and Don Paolino [Scibelli] will also 
proceed thither. Don Lorenzo [d Antonio] with Don 
Paolo [Cafaro] will go to Ciorani. It will be necessary for 
Don Paolo to remain here for some months ; for he has won 
a great name here. 

All with the exception of Don Lorenzo and Don Paolo 
will begin on the ist of January to apply the intentions 

1 The Bishop of Foggia, to whose diocese the town of Foggia then 
belonged and where he resided several months of the year, was at 
that time Mgr. Giovanni Pietro Faccolli. 

2 Don Ignazio was a secular priest who accompanied the Fathers 
on missions. 



140 General Correspondence. \ PARTI. 

of the Masses for this house. This new foundation is 
beginning under the beautiful standard of holy poverty. 
All of us have already said a Mass for the house. 

Let the secretary at Nocera preserve this letter. Tell 
Don Gaetano di Caro, 1 that if he will be so kind as to assist 
us this Lent during the missions to be given to the people 
of the Abbruzzi, he will do us a very great favor. 

Don Cesare writes me that Don Paolo will send him as 
soon as you ask for him. 

May Jesus Christ bless us all! Pray for me constantly. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Send the plans also to Nocera. Live Jesus ! 

According to what the courier says, the Fathers can set 
out Saturday morning and arrive there Sunday evening. 

Please send at once to the hamlets the enclosed letter 
of Signor Calvini. 

Your humble servant and brother, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original , part of which is in the possession 
of Don Giuseppe de Aquila, apostolic abbreviatore^ and the 
remainder is to be f9und in the archives of Father General at 
Rome. 

LETTER 66. 
To Father Cesare Sportelli, Rector of the House at Pagani. 

Project of abandoning the foundation at Pagani. Service 
asked for Iliceto. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

ILICETO, December 28, 1744. 

I have received your very kind favor as well as the 
expression of your devoted attachment. At the beginning 

1 This secular priest accompanied the Fathers on the missions. 
He is the same of whom mention is afterwards made. 



I744-] Letter 66. 141 

you write to me about making peace , etc. , and the 
obstinacy of Don Francesco; 1 but you say nothing of the 
last letter that I sent you in which I wrote you about 
giving up Pagani. We could, I said to you, abandon 
this house on the t\%) following conditions: that Don 
Francesco becomes responsible for all the debts, and that 
before renouncing the donation the permission of the king 
and of the bishop of the city should be asked ; in this way 
we should always be able to excuse ourselves if we do not 
relinquish our right. On the other hand, this negotiation 
appears to me to be necessary in order that we may free 
ourselves from the many disquietudes and come to a 
definite conclusion; for if things do not become quiet in 
some way, I should hardly think that God wishes any 
longer this foundation, which has become so troublesome 
and inconvenient to the Congregation. It is true, God has 
made us see wonderful things ; but has perhaps had designs 
other than ours. I also write you that if in this matter you 
should meet with any difficulties you should propose them to 
me, and that we were not pressed to hurry the matter. Again, I 
beg you to write to me about your difficulties if you have 
any, or to carry out wholly or in part what I have expressed 
in my letter, since the same thought never leaves me. 

I have, moreover, written to you that if the foundation is 
to be abandoned, it will be necessary that you should 
continue to assist me at least until affairs have become more 
quiet. 

Here things continue to prosper ; but as to the missions 
among the people of the Abbruzzi, the devil has begun to 
make efforts to hinder them. There are so far ninety thousand 
abandoned souls, but O God, how abandoned are they i 
If I had been able without detriment to the missions to free 

1 D. Francesco Cantaldi, the founder of the house at Pagani, was 
afterwards as active in destroying the foundation as he had been 
before in securing it. 



142 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

myself from the missions at Modugno, 1 I would have ar 
ranged for the harvesting of this great crop, that is, the 
missions among the inhabitants of the Abbruzzi. But it did 
not seem to me to be proper to omit that mission at present 
after having made an arrangement in regard to it with the 
Archbishop [of Bari], the archpriest and the clergy. But 
on the other hand, by going to Modugno I cannot for a 
greater reason neglect the missions begun in the Abbruzzi, 
and therefore I have sent for Father Andrea [Villani] and 
Gaetano [di Caro] or Father Paolino [Scibelli] if Don 
Gaetano cannot come; because afterwards Father Andrea 
and another, with Father Lorenzo [d Antonio], I think, 
will return here after we come back from Modugno. 

I have not resolved to remain permanently in this house. 
When God wills, I shall return to Ciorani. But it appears 
to me to be necessary that I should not depart from this 
place for a considerable time, because there are very many 
weighty things to be adjusted. 

I continue to write by another hand, because I am sick in 
bed with bronchial catarrh and fever. Here the good that 
can be done under the present circumstances is immense ; 
more so than at Nocera and Ciorani. I omit writing to you 
everything. But when you come here, God willing, you 
will obtain every information. There is question of an 
extreme necessity. 

I had hoped that the Prince of Castellaneta would come 
here to arrange about the annual support of this house ; but 
our Lord has not wished that he should come. Hence it 
became necessary for me to write to him the enclosed letter 
telling him how things stood. Your Reverence may read it 
and then seal it. But it will also be necessary for you to go 
to Naples to speak to him and to give him my letter, 
because more can always be dene by word of mouth, and 

1 Modugno, situated in the diocese of Bari, had afterwards a 
mission in the month of February, 1745. 



1744- ] Letter 66. 143 

the prince will always have less courage to refuse when he 
is face to face with you than when he writes you a letter. 
There is no remedy : we must strike the iron when it is hot; 
because if we allow the matter to grow cold it may perhaps 
become afterwards a difficult thing to obtain anything from 
the prince. But now it would be well to procure from the 
prince a hundred and fifty or a hundred scudi annually, to be 
derived from the income of the estate. Hence your Reverence 
should try to speak a few words with the prince ; you will 
know how to do so. It will be necessary that on account 
of this matter you should lay aside everything else, because 
if a mistake is made now, nothing more can be done. 
Your Reverence, therefore, will please promptly finish the little 
mission, which is perhaps now on your hands, and go at once 
to Naples to speak to Castellaneta ; because I am in hopes 
that after you have spoken to him he will I think write at 
once to Iliceto. Here the agent and Canon Maffei will give 
relief to our little vessel, and some good may be accomplished 
before the prince sets out with his regiment; this may 
easily happen in the midst of the political turmoil that now 
exists. 

Depart then, dear Father ; perpetual works should have 
the preference before those that are temporal. May your 
Reverence have patience, and may you take upon yourself 
this inconvenience for the love of the Most Blessed Virgin. 

I embrace all in Jesus Christ. I have written to Ciorani 
that they should send to you the letters that I have written 
to this house. Read them and have them read. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

Don Bernardo [Tortora] and Don Ignazio arrived here 
on Monday afternoon about three o clock, covered with 
snow from head to foot. 

Your servant and brother, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 



144 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

[/*. S.~\ I inform your Reverence that after receiving 
this letter you should wait another week and then go to 
Castellaneta ; because within this time I am anxious that he 
should receive a letter of mine which I sent him beforehand 
through Oliviero. 1 Castellaneta s address is: Quarter of 
anime del Purgatorio, at the palace of the Duchess of 
Pesche. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 67. 
To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce. 

He exhorts her to give to prayer all the time that she can 
snatch from her occupations. 

Praised be the Most Blessed Sacrament, and Mary Im 
maculate ! 

ILICETO, S. MARIA BELLA CONSOLAZIONE, April 14, [1745]. 

My dear daughter : I am at present at Iliceto, in a new house 
that we have just established, and that is two days journey 
from Ciorani. I have received here no other letter than the 
one that was probably the last that you addressed to me. 

I know not the answer that Mgr. di Caiazzo has given to 
you ; but I can well imagine it ; I beg you therefore to be 
undisturbed. 

That ray that has enlightened you in your jubilee con 
fession I truly regard as a ray of light sent by God 
himself in order to give you a little strength to endure 
storms. 

Since you have to give yourself up to the occupations 
of your employment, do so, and snatch all the time that 
you can for prayer, which is an occupation that will always 

1 D. Giovanni Oliviero was a penitent of the saint and lived at 
Naples. 



I745-] Letter 68. 145 

be profitable to you. Recommend me without ceasing 
to Jesus and to Mary. ,Live Jesus and Mary. I remain, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. , 

\_P. S.~\ To conclude quieting you, you might answer 
Mgr. di Caiazzo that the five thousand ducats are destined 
for the good work ; then think no more about it. 

As to the widow, I have recommended her to Jesus. 
Tell her that Jesus wishes to have her entirely for himself; 
this is the reasou why he has taken her son from her. Let 
her never omit to offer up to God this sacrifice, and give 
herself entirely to Jesus. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

As for the letters, send them to Ciorani. Live Jesus and 
Mary ! 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 68. 
To the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XIV. 

Petition to obtain the confirmation of the establishment 
of missionaries at Iliceto. 

[May 3, 1745.] 

Most Holy Father: Alfonso de Liguori, united with 
many other priests in the bond of mutual and fraternal 
charity, and prostrate at the feet of your Holiness expresses 
the following facts : 

-The undersigned having, in 1744, proceeded to the village 
of Puglia, that is to a place called Iliceto, in the diocese 
of Bovino, to give a mission there, the people and the 
venerable Chapter of this place requested him to labor 
among them in behalf of the many abandoned souls. To 
accomplish this they wished him and his companions to 
take up their abode in the convent of Santa Maria della 
Consolazione, situated upon a mountain, and at one time 

10 



146 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

inhabited by Count D. Giovanni Appiani. He most willing 
ly accepted the offer, since thereby there was opened to 
him a more convenient road to extend his labors through 
the Puglia, and to give assistance with the divine word and 
the administration of the sacraments to so many poor 
abandoned people, and among them to fifty or sixty thousand 
shepherds, who were absolutely deprived of all spiritual 
help. The acceptance of this foundation, moreover, makes 
it convenient for him to go about in the neighboring dioceses, 
as he has done and is doing at present in so many other 
dioceses, where the missions produce the most salutary 
fruits for the reform of morals, to the greatest satisfaction 
of the inhabitants. 

This state of things being known to our most zealous 
Bishop of Bovino, Mgr. Lucci, he deigned by an ordinance 
issued in the said year 1744, to grant to the petitioner the 
permission to reside in said place to the great delight as 
well as with the express consent of all the people and of the 
venerable Chapter of Iliceto. And since now the petitioner 
desires from your Holiness, who is so great a lover and 
promoter of this work which gives so much glory to Jesus 
Christ, a confirmation of said place of Santa Maria della 
Consolazione, he therefore most humbly supplicates your 
Holiness for this favor, being satisfied that your Holiness 
will be rewarded by Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, 
for the love of whom he asks it, and promising to pray 
and have the people to pray always more and more for the 
exaltation of the Church and for the welfare of the govern 
ment of your Holiness. 

After an old copy. 



I745-] Letter 69. 147 

i 

LETTER 69. 

To Father Giovanni Mazzini, the new Rector at Pagani.i 
He begs him to put in force regular observance. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

S. MARIA [DELLA CONSOLAZIONE], September 23, [1745]. 

I beg your Reverence, who are now in charge of this 
house, to introduce into it the faithful observance of the 
Rule. This regular observance has been hitherto very 
difficult on account of the condition of the place in which 
you live and on account of the law-suits that had to be 
carried on. Now, however, everything should be set in 
order, for otherwise the non-observance of the Rule will 
grow into a custom, and then it will be very difficult to 
bring the subjects back to a sense of their duty. I therefore 
charge your conscience with the care of this matter, since 
being at a distance I can not see nor know everything that 
is going on. Before God the Congregation will prosper so 
long as the Rule is observed and the subjects are solicitous 
about their own sanctification ; for when inobservance is 
once introduced, all will end in smoke. We have now, 

1 Father Mazzini was born at Naples, December 18, 1704. Having 
spent his youth in wonderful innocence, he afterwards devoted 
himself to the ecclesiastical state. Since the year 1723 he had beeu 
one of the most intimate friends of our saint. The Congregation 
having been established, it was not permitted him by his confessor 
to enter the Institute at once as he had wished to do; but after 
three years spent in earnest entreaties, he obtained the so much 
desired permission. An entire volume would not suffice to contain 
a narration of the virtues practised by this fervent servant of God. 
It suffices to say that he was worthy of being in every respect one 
of the dearest friends of St. Alphonsus. He survived the saint a few 
years, and so had the good fortune of giving his testimony in the 
process of Beatification. He died in the peace of the Lord, December 
3, 1792. 



148 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

thanks be to God ! three houses and a sufficient number 
of subjects to attend to the work of the Institute. All that we 
have to do now is to do the will of God, and to labor earnestly 
at our own perfection; for then the Congregation will 
prosper, the number of subjects will increase, and much 
will be accomplished for the glory of God. If we do not 
effect this, God will abandon us and everything will go 
to ruin . Communicate , I "beg you , these lines to all 
the Fathers. I embrace them all, conjuring them to 
recommend me to Jesus and Mary. Live Jesus and 
Mary ! 

At the evening prayers recommend to the Blessed Virgin 
the missions that we are to give during this year, especially 
at Foggia and in the diocese of Troia. I remain, etc. 
Live Jesus and Mary! I salute D. Biase [Biagio Amarante], 
etc.; send me the names, etc. Live Jesus and Mary! 

Your brother in Jesus, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



LETTER 70. 

To Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli, Archbishop of Naples. 
Petition to obtain the faculties needed for the missions. 1 

[December, 1745.] 

Most Eminent and Most Reverend Sir : Alfonso de Liguori, 
Superior of the missionaries of the Congregation of the 

1 Pope Benedict XIV. wishing to promote in the kingdom of 
Naples the good custom of frequenting the sacraments had since 
September 8, 1744, delegated Cardinal Spinelli for this work. 



I745-] Letter 70. 1 49 

Most Holy Saviour, established at Iliceto, suppliantly de 
clares to your Eminence that, being actually engaged in 
giving the exercises of a mission in the diocese of Troia, 
and having thence to go to the diocese of Cirignola, for the 
greater promotion of the glory of God and the sanctification 
of souls, he desires to be provided with the faculties and 
the indulgences that for this purpose have been granted to 
your Eminence by his Holiness, submitting himself always 
to the will of your Eminence; and if you deign to grant 
the favor that he asks, he will pray to God to reward you. 

To this petition the Cardinal gave the following answer : 

The better to secure the fruits of the holy missions and 
thus to promote the salvation of souls, we welcome your 
petition and we grant you, the Superior of the Congregation 
of the Most Holy Saviour, established at Iliceto, the powers that 
our most holy Pope Benedict XIV. has granted and communi 
cated to us, by delegation to us especially as the supreme 
Director of the missions in the kingdom of Naples. But we desire 
you to use these powers only for the missions mentioned in the 
petition, in the exercises of the holy ministry, in the con 
fessional, and by yourself and during the time of the missions 
only. 

Wishing also to favor the piety and increase the devotion 
of the people, we grant the indulgences of which His Holiness 
the Pope has made us the dispenser, and willingly concede 
the seven years and seven times forty days to the faithful 
of both sexes who attend the missions in any city or place in 
the kingdom of Naples, or who not being able to attend them, 
on account of some lawful impediment, pray to God piously 
for the success of these exercises. 

Moreover, to all the faithful who, truly penitent, having 
confessed and communicated, attend on the last day of the 
mission, or who lawfully hindered to do so, pray to God, as 
we have said, after having received the sacraments of penance 
and Eucharist, we grant a plenary indulgence and the remission 
of all their sins, available however only for the missions 
indicated in the petition. 
10* 



150 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Given at Naples, in our archiepiscopal palace, the nth 
of the month of December, 1745. 

JOSEPH Cardinal, Archbishop. 

JOSEPH ROMANO, Canon secretary. 1 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

1 Quo utilius percipiatur fructus sanctarum missionum ac proinde 
animarum saluti proficiatur, supplicantis petitionibus inhcerentes, 
facultates, quoe nobis a SSmo Domino nostro Benedicto P. P. XIV, 
tamqviam supremo Director! in Regni Neapolitani missionibus specia- 
liter delegate , concessoe et communicatoe fuerunt , tibi Superior! 
Congregationis SSmi Salvatoris, in Iliceto institute, concedimus et 
elargimur. Volumus tamen, ut supradictis facultatibus, pro missio 
nibus in supplici libello expressis tantum, et in actu sacramentalis 
confessionis per teipsum, et durante missionis tempore dumtaxat, ut 
valeas, et non aliter. 

Similiter Christifidelium pietatem confovere et devotionem augere 
cupientes, Indulgentiarum, quarum dispensatores idem SSmo Do- 
minus esse Nos voluit, omnibus et singulis utriusque sexus, qui 
ubique civitatum et locorum Regni Neapolitani missionibus inter- 
fuerint ; vel, legitimo impedimento detenti interesse non valentes, 
pias tamen preces pro spiritual! earumdem missionum fructu ad 
Deum fuderint, septem annos cum totidem quarantenis libenter 
impertimur. Insuper omnibus Christifidelibus, qui vere poenitentes 
et confessi ac SSmo Eucharistioe Sacramento refecti, ultima die 
missioni interfuerint, vel qui legitime proepediti proesentes esse non 
valentes, expleta tamen sacramentali confessione et communione, 
easdem, ut supra, preces ad Deum fuderint, plenariam omnium 
peccatorum suorum Indulgentiam et remissionem, per dictas tantum 
in supplici libello enunciatas missiones valituram, misericorditer in 
Domino concedimus et elargimur. 

Datum NEAPOLI, ex nostro Palatio achiepiscopali, die undecima 
mensis decembris 1745. 

JOSEPHUS Cardinalis, Archiepiscopus. 

JOSEPH ROMANO, Canonicus secret. 



1746.] Letter ji. 151 



LETTER 71. 

To the Mother Abbess and the Nuns of the Monastery of the 
Annunciation at Foggia. 

Explanations relative to the use of figured music 1 and to 
the expenses contrary to poverty. 

[Beginning of the year 1746.] 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Very Reverend Mother Abbess and dear Sisters : Having 
had the honor, without any merit on our part, to give the 
spiritual exercises 2 to your pious Community, we have heard 
that some of our assertions have been misunderstood and 
wrongly interpreted. For the honor of truth and to satisfy 
our conscience we have thought it proper to indicate here 
what we have said about figured music and about the special 
expenses incurred by the officials. 

As for figured music, we say that it is by no means 
suitable for pious persons, and much less for virgins con 
secrated to God, as appears from the Rules of all saintly 
religious Orders; and if such a practice exists in any 
monastery, it is usually condemned as an abuse. If, then, 
we consider the circumstances that accompany it, we see 
that it is morally impossible to practise this kind of music 
without sin on account of the solicitude, the vanity, the 

1 A mixture of music and plain-chant very much in use in the 
second half of the eighteenth century. The inconveniences that 
resulted from this altogether wordly chant had for a long time made 
the Church forbid it to the monasteries ; but an extraordinary 
infatuation always introduced it again. " There is nothing more 
ridiculous and more flat," says Jean-Jacque Rousseau with reason, 
" than these plain-chants that are adapted to modern music. We 
are under great obligations to the bishops, provosts, and singers 
who oppose this barbarous mixture." Quoted by D. Gueranger, 
Institutions liturgiques, book, ii. chap. xx. 

2 This retreat was preached in the month of December 1745, on 
the occasion of the celebrated mission given at Foggia. 



152 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

distractions, the expense, the infractions of the Rule, and 
other disorders that inevitably result from it both inside and 
outside of the monastery. The fault is more or less grave 
according to the disorders that arise therefrom. According 
to what has been generally reported in Foggia and outside 
of it, the disorders that have occurred are not inconsiderable. 

As for the expenses incurred by the officials, 1 we have said 
that the letter of the Sacred Congregation of January 26, 
1742, written by order of His Holiness to the Ordinaries, 
contains and expresses a formal prohibition for all religious 
in office to expend the least amount of money or to make 
the least present on feast days or in the discharge of their 
duties, whether in the monastery or out of it. The words 
of the letter are as follows : " His Holiness commands that 
this be inviolably observed by every monastery, even 
though it be exempt, etc., under pain, in case of infringe 
ment, of deprivation of office and of the power of voting 
and being voted for, to be incurred as soon as the deed is 
committed." Consequently His Holiness enjoins upon all 
the bishops "to impose, by a formal precept of obedience, 
upon all the officials, the observance of this ordinance, to 
assure themselves of its exact observance, and to report to 
him what has been done." 

Also, on April 27, 1742, the bishop acting as the apostolic 
delegate for executing the holy and paternal ordinances 
of His Holiness according to the terms of his letter, pre 
scribed the observance of them by a formal precept of 
obedience, with this explanation, that the above-mentioned 
penalties, if ever incurred, would last not according to his 

1 Common life had relaxed in the eighteenth century in many 
convents of Italy. Certain religious were then by reason of their 
charge obliged to incur expenses on feasts and pious solemnities, and 
in order to do this they encroached upon their revenues. As vanity 
was frequently their motive, these expenses became at times very 
considerable. 



1746.] Letter //. 153 

pleasure, since he is only the executor, but at the pleasure 
of the Sacred Congregation, as the Sovereign Pontiff ex 
pressly ordains. 

After decisions so precise, we have said that the officials 
are obliged to conform to the orders of His Holiness under 
the penalty of a grievous sin. As it was objected that the 
Community could not make all the necessary outlay, and 
that there was not sufficient revenues to supply it, as has 
been prescribed by His Holiness, in the conference which 
we gave on the subject, we answered as follows: "In view 
of these circumstances it is necessary to report to the 
Sacred Congregation, and in the mean time, supposing 
that the before-mentioned expenses could suffer no delay on 
account of the current wants of the monastery, we putting a 
mild interpretation on the ordinance of His Holiness (for as 
there is here question of an interpretation, it should be made 
in a very strict sense), we may strictly permit the officials to 
make the necessary outlay, but not a superfluous one, as 
had been too often made in the past." To all this one 
could allege nothing else than the established usage. We 
replied that as to the past, good faith could furnish an 
excuse, yet for the present, since the matter has been made 
clearer, this practice can no longer be tolerated without sin, 
nor even without a grievous sin. 

This we have uniformly said ; besides, we do not presume 
to enforce our opinions, nor to set ourselves up as teachers. 
We have only spoken in order to relieve our conscience 
by rendering the obedience that is due to the Vicar of Jesus 
Christ. 

After the Roman edition. 



154 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 72. 
To his Brother D. Ercole de Liguori. 

He complains to him about his conduct, which was anything 
but brotherly, in regard to certain temporal interests. 

[February, 1746.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I have read your last letter in which you say in substance 
that when I am in distress you will help me. 

My dear Brother, this is not the way to arrange the 
matter, but it is to force on a litigation; and I tell you 
again that I do not wish to litigate, and I could do so 
because I am claiming what belongs to me. Rest assured 
that I should hardly appear in court when it would assign 
to me the one hundred and fifty ducats with the rest of the 
money. 

If at least you had said to me : / wish, dear Brother, 
that you would give up your right to such a sum. But to 
seek to bring forward reasons, and to say that the hundred 
and fifty ducats do not concern me, is very bad treatment 
on your part. 

The two hundred ducats were given me by a legacy; 
what have they then to do with the portion that my father l 
has also bequeathed to me in the last disposition of his 
property? Besides, the two hundred ducats he did not 
leave to me, but to the Congregation, namely, one hundred for 
the building at Ciorani, and a hundred which I might dispose 
of; and then as to the two hundred ducats, according to 

1 Giuseppe de Liguori, father of St. Alphonsus, had died some 
weeks previously. He had secured to his son Alphonsus, an annual 
income of one hundred and fifty ducats payahle to our saint after his 
death; moreover, he hequeathed to him at his death (December 
1745) two hundred ducats as a special gift. Don Ercole, it seems, 
pretended that this last gift nearly annulled the former. We here 
mention that the ducat is about equal to an American dollar, or to 4 
francs, 25 centimes. 



i 74 6.j Letter 72. 155 

you my father meant that I should renounce my life-interest 
of one hundred and fifty ducats and be content with forty- 
two ducats ! What have the two hundred ducats to do with 
all this? They arise from a legacy, and the one hundred 
and fifty were assured me by an anterior notarial act. Add 
to this that in making the bequest my late father did not 
mention anything about the rest. 

You, moreover, tell me that I have not declared that I 
wished to have the one hundred and fifty ducats. What 
obligation is there for me to make a declaration when I am 
in possession of the notarial act? I have always firmly 
believed that at the death of my father the one hundred and 
fifty ducats were due to me, and I firmly believed that you 
would give them to me. And this payment I always 
held to be assured, nor did I ever think that you could 
refuse it to me. Now that I am reading your letters I do 
nothing but make signs of the cross, and I offer to God 
what you write to me and the way in which you treat me. 

You come out so boldly because you have to deal with 
me. If you had to deal with D. Gennaro Sarnelli who 
went to law with his own father and made him give up to 
him his portion, or with the sisters Marianna and Maria 
Louisa who in regard to our father had recourse to judiciary 
measures, you would not have spoken thus. 

But I have waited and have borne with this up to the 
present time in order not to cause you any displeasure. 
You will however in the end force me to do what is so 
disagreeable to me. 

You write to me that when I am in need and really in 
want of money and in great distress, you will not neglect 
me. My dear D. Ercole, is this the way that you should 
treat me? In what manner, then, should I persuade you 
that I am in such necessity, that I am, as you say, in great 
distress ? How in future am I to prove to you whether or 
not my difficulties are serious? You have already dis- 



156 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

believed me, since you have not believed what I have 
written to you. How can I think that you will believe me 
hereafter? This is the treatment inflicted not by a brother, 
but by a barbarian, by an enemy. You really wish to 
make game of me. Your letter has so disturbed me that I 
have not been able to sleep. Alas ! that then only I should 
have what belongs to me when I am in want and in great 
straits, so that for the future we should always have to 
quarrel with each other ! 

Now, my dear Brother, if you do not really desire to 
litigate, and if you do not wish to treat me as a bastard, 
tell me, finally, what you will assign to me every year so 
that I may be able to make up my accounts. I beg you 
for the love of the Blessed Virgin Mary not to ill-treat me 
any more. See how I treat you with brotherly charity 
and how patient I am. After that, do not complain of me 
if I claim all that belongs to me, that is , more than 
one hundred and fifty ducats; there are fifteen hundred 
Neapolitan ducats invested in our house and it is from my 
property that they have been drawn. I could make you 
weep, but I will not do so, since I love you. 

I thought in order to satisfy you to give up to you thirty 
ducats a year, and finally even forty-two of the one hundred 
and fifty. Does this perhaps appear to you unacceptable ? 
I repeat, as long as I can, I wish to proceed only with you 
in all charity. But I see that you wish only to abuse my 
goodness. God and the world will however justify me. 

Behold now the fraternal charity of which you speak to 
me. Your love, to tell the truth, consists merely in prattling 
and in making no account of me. 

Now more than ever you make me know that there is no 
other than God who truly loves us. 

And so, my dear Brother, I again beg you for the love 
of the Blessed Virgin not to write to me any more in this 
manner; but tell me what do you wish to assign to me 



i 74 6.] Letter j 3- 1 S7 

every year till the death of Donna Francesca and Don Do- 
menico, as you say? For pity s sake, do not ill-treat me 
any more. If you have not the two hundred ducats, it will 
hardly do to borrow them at interest ; arrange now for me 
the annual assignment; this is important for both of us in 
order to live quietly. . . . Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! . . . 

I send the bill and the receipt. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Your very affectionate brother, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original in possession of Mgr. Francesco Giordani, 
auxiliary bishop of Cardinal Monaco La Valetta, in Albano. 

LETTER 73. 

To the Same. 

He exhorts him to make the spiritual exercises. 

ILICETO, February 22, 1746. 

Now answer me at once, and I beg you to 

restore peace to my mind for the love of the Blessed Virgin. 
All is right, and do not omit to make this week the 
exercises 1 in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and approach the 
sacraments. I make you that concession ; 2 but I wish you 
to be under an obligation to serve the Congregation when 
your personal services are needed for any business at Naples. 
The persecution against us has already begun here. It will 
be difficult for me to go again to Naples, and God knows 
whether we shall again see each other 

After an incomplete old copy. 

1 Given by the Fathers of the Mission or Lazarists. 

2 This is treated of in the preceding letter. 



158 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 74. 
Holograph Testament of the Saint. 

[March 5, 1746.] 

Live Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and Teresa ! 

I the undersigned, Alfonso de Liguori, declare this to be 
my last will after my death. Although this my will may 
not be invested with all the required conditions of a testament, 
yet it has the best possible validity for dispositions ad pias 
causas [for charitable purposes] without detracting from the 
Falcidian or Trebbellian law. 1 

I leave the holy Mother of God and my own Mother, and 
through her the Congregation of the Most Holy Saviour, as 
my universal heiress of all the goods that belong to me, 
and especially of the arrearage of the annuity of one hundred 
and fifty ducats a year, which is due to me from my family 
since the month of December 1745 after the death of my 
father. And although I was satisfied that my brother D. 
Ercole, in his present straitened circumstances and until his 
affairs improve, should pay me only seventy-two ducats a 
year, yet I desire that after my death all the arrears together 
with the balance of the one hundred and fifty, that is 
seventy-eight ducats, should all revert and be paid over to 
the Congregation. And furthermore, I bequeathe for the 
benefit of the same Congregation the capital of three or four 
hundred ducats, or as much as it is, which 1 reserved to 
myself in the renunciation 2 that I formerly made, as appears 
from the writing drawn up by the hand of a notary about 
the year 1725-. ... at Naples. I no longer remember the 
name of the notary ; but my brother may remember it. 

1 The Falcidian law guaranteed to the heir one fourth of the 
amount of the legacy which he was charged to pay. The Trebbellian 
law guaranteed to the heir the fourth of the amount of the universal 
trusts which he was restoring. 

2 The saint here refers to the renunciation of his primogeniture. 



Letter 7 $. 159 

And all this is to be at the disposition of the subsequent 
Rector Major. 

At the house of S. Maria della Consolazione, March 5, 
1746. 

I ALFONSO DE LIGUORI dispose, as above. 

CARLO RICCIARDI, witness. 
GIUSEPPE BONASISSA, witness. 

Moreover, I leave to the same Congregation the portion 
left me by my father in his last will, made in regard to the 
property which he owned before his death. 

After the original, the property of his Eminence Cardinal 
Guglielmo Sanfelice, Archbishop of Naples. 

LETTER 75. 

To Don Francesco Antonio Ricciardi, Advocate at Foggia. 
Nature and advantages of renewals of missions. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

S. MARIA DELLA CONSOLAZIONE, March 30, [1746]. 

My dear Don Francesco Antonio: Don Paolo [Cafaro] 
forgot to arrange with Mgr. di Troia in regard to the time 
when he desired that we should go to Foggia and to Troia 
for the Renewal. This exercise which we are accustomed 
to give in the places where we have given a mission 
produces the most salutary fruits. 

I therefore send word to you expressly to do me the 
charity to go personally to Monsignor and to ask him 
whether it is pleasing to him that I should go with one or 
two other companions, to Foggia for three or four days 
and to Troia for two or three. 

As for a dwelling and beds, tell him that he need not 
concern himself about them, since owing to your kindness 
we shall remain at your house at Foggia ; and at Troia we 
shall stay at the house of the vicar Don Camillo. Let him 
understand that this will be only for a few days, and he 



160 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

should have no fears. This will suffice; but it will be 
necessary for you to go to see him personally, as he will 
not say no to you. 

You must, however, tell him that this Renewal, , or this 
visit to Foggia, should be given soon, before the month 
of May and before the hot weather. I have .thought 
of going there on the Sunday after Easter with one or two 
others, because the other companions will have to go to 
Orsara to give a mission there, as has been arranged by 
the bishop. Let me know whether or not the bishop is 
satisfied as to the time at which we are to go. If he ? 
however, does not wish me to go any more to Foggia, I 
shall be pleased; for what an amount of inconvenience 
would not such a journey to Foggia cost me ! 

Inform me whether he wishes us to go at least to Troia. 

See whether he will not say, What use of having so 
many missions one after the other f Answer him that this 
is not a mission. It only serves to remind the people of the 
mission, of the sermons that were preached, and of their 
promises. By means of this Renewal of the spirit many are 
confirmed in leading a good life. Many times the Renewal 
does more good than the mission that was giyen. Thus 
you may answer him that it is not a mission, but only a 
reminder, a remembrance of a mission^ hence two -Fathers 
for a few days will be sufficient. 

I speak on behalf of God s glory, for in regard to my 
feelings I shoulcl rather have. the bishop to say no. 
. You would oblige me -if you would write to some friend 
at Manfredonia to find out whether any mill-stones could be 
had there, because we have need of some. Please send 
your answer to me at this place. Live Jesus, Joseph, and 
Mary ! I remain, 

Your very humble and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 



1746.] Letter 76. 1 6 1 

[/>. 5.] I have thought better of the matter : Please do 
not arrange the time of our arrival at Foggia for the Sunday 
after Easter, but for the Sunday following, that is, two weeks 
after Easter; because on the Sunday after Easter I cannot 
be absent. Live Jesus and Mary I 1 

After the original in possession of the priest Alfonso Carinci. 

LETTER 76. 
To Father Andrea Villani.2 

Gravity of the decision of a General Chapter. Precautions 
that should necessarily be taken. 

[ILICETO, October 1746.] 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

My dear Don Andrea: I have a little complaint to make 
about your Reverence. I hear that you have brought to 
the consideration of others the question in regard to the 
novitiate of the Brothers. 3 Your Reverence, it seems to 
me could have spoken to me about the matter in all con 
fidence, and knowing the affection that I bear you and the 

1 Father Tannoia says in his " Life of St. Alphonsus" (B. ii. chap, 
xxvi.) that the Renewal took place and that the nine days of this 
exercise resembled a new mission. 

2 Father Villani, born February 8, 1706, in the town of Curtoli in 
the district of Sanseverino, was, in the year 1737, admitted into the 
Institute of St. Alphonsus of which after the holy founder he became 
the principal corner-stone. As he was a man of great learning, 
df tried virtue, and of singular prudence, many important offices 
were intrusted to him. He was successively Master of novices, 
several times Rector, then Consultor-General, Vicar-General, and 
before the death of St. Alphonsus, Superior-General of the houses in 
the kingdom of Naples. He died in 1792, greatly lamented by all. 

3 A Chapter was held in the house at Ciorani, October 12, 1746; 
but as the holy founder could not be present on account of ill 
health, he had the various decisions of the Chapter forwarded to 
him. The Fathers who had assembled decided upon some measures 
which, far from obtaining the approbation of the saint, were the 
cause why the Chapter was deferred till the year following. 

II 



1 62 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

liberty that I wish to see prevail in your relations to me, 
you could have, I say, told me secretly your idea on this 
point without undertaking to have the Chapter decide 
that the Rector Major cannot grant a dispensation when 
there is question of the novitiate. This is equivalent to 
overthrowing absolutely the powers of the Rector Major 
and to destroying the principal rule traced out by our Father 
[Mgr. Falcoia], which wishes a government by a single 
head like the government of the Church. 

I for my part have desired, and I do now desire, at least 
under present circumstances, to keep aloof, occupied in 
looking on others acting and serving the Congregation. As 
for the government, I have accepted it through obedience, 
and it is only obedience that makes me retain it, for with 
the direction of the Institute and the thousand cares con 
tinually accompanying it, I can attend but little to the care 
of my soul. 

But if I see that harmony is going to be destroyed, I 
would by all means resign, promising however to serve the 
Congregation with the same affection with which I have 
served it heretofore. If in fact one wishes to destroy what is 
even the very foundation of the Institute and make a rule 
against a rule, it would be better in order to avoid so 
supreme a confusion that I should resign and that a Rector 
[Major] according to your own ideas should preside over 
you. 

I wish you not to mention this affair, which I have 
written specially for you. Only Don Saverio [Rossi] may 
read my letter, since to save time I do not desire to write 
again to him these same things. 

And I secretly request you to bring about as prudently as 
possible the speedy dissolution of the Chapter ; it should be 
put off to a later date. The devil had indeed based great 
hopes on this Chapter, and it has been a special grace given 
to us by God that no decree has as yet been made; for 



1746.] Lettered. 163 

if the points just mentioned had been decided, I assure you, 
and I can assure you, that the greatest confusion would 
arise. But God has prevented this evil, in the first place, 
because I cannot go to Ciorani with my bronchial catarrh, 
and because affairs so grave require necessarily my presence. 
Hence if ever the Chapter is to be held, it would have to 
be held here ; now to make you all come to Iliceto at this 
time would produce disturbance in many things, as, for 
instance, in the missions, in the houses, etc. In the second 
place some one must go to Naples, 1 and lastly the order 
of the missions must be regulated. 

Besides, there is question of affairs of vast importance, 
involving the establishment of new rules which are to last 
in perpetuum [forever]. All this will require many dis 
cussions and many explanations; and now in view of all 
this, so far separated as we are from one another, I myself 
being obliged to remain here, how could we desire to come 
to any determination in such a confused state of things, and 
when the voters are not even assembled ? 2 I therefore do not 
intend to give my consent for the holding of this Chapter so 
unlawful and so irregular. I thought that only those things 
would be proposed about which letters had been sent to me, 
which indeed were matters of little importance. But there 
are matters in regard to which we must discuss and confer 
with one another. Moreover, I believed that the votes 
given by the living voice could all be sent hither in writing; 
but this was found to be impossible, as it is against the 
Rule, and I am opposed to it. 

Hence I declare that for all these just reasons the 

1 Father Sportelli had to repair to Naples to complete the foun 
dation of the house of Mater Domini at Caposele. 

2 Some of the Fathers who were voters failed to be present at the 
Chapter, October 12, and it was decided that notwithstanding their 
absence the Chapter should be continued if they would not have 
arrived on the 25th of the same month. 



164 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Chapter should be dissolved, and should afterwards be 
assembled in due time with all the necessary and essential 
formalities ; otherwise it would be null and void and would 
only serve the purpose of causing disturbance. Do not 
doubt that I will take care that the Chapter be held without 
fail, but I and all the voters must take part in it. 1 

Your brother, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After an autograph sketch preserved in the archives of 
Father General at Rome. 

LETTER 77. 
To Father Cesare Sportelli. 

Prudence to be used in the proceedings of the General 
Chapter. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

ILICETO, [October, 1746.] 

My dear Don Cesare: Whatever I write to you I beg 
you to keep secret for the present, according as it may 
seem to be expedient. 2 

These gentlemen submitted to your consideration those 
points that concern the Rector Major, instead of proposing 
them in Chapter for the purpose of making decisions about 
things already decided and established. 

It seems that they are taking away from the Rector 
Major the faculty of dispensation; but such a thing is 
contrary to all rules , because it belongs essentially to 
human laws to be subject to dispensation. And will it not 

1 In fact, the Chapter was held in the month of October of the 
following year. 

2 Father Sportelli, President of the Chapter was entirely of the 
same opinion as the saint was, to whom in writing he had mentioned, 
October 10, 1746, his fears and cautions. 



1746.] Letter jj. 165 

be sometimes necessary to give a dispensation, and especially 
in regard to the novitiate of the Brothers and the stud 
ents? . . . 

This point gives me more concern than anything else, 
because it involves a matter of conscience . . . but so I have 
regarded it before God. 

Moreover, with God s help and in time I hope, and 
perhaps shortly, I shall put the Rule in force as I have 
intended to do ; and since this point especially creates ob 
jections, I will hereafter endeavor to be more reserved. 

As to the questions proposed, some refer to things of no 
importance; it will be sufficient if we speak about them, 
there being no necessity to have capitular decisions given 
upon them ; for a multiplicity of decrees would in its time 
be the ruin of the Congregation. Others have reference to 
points already determined by the Rule ; if they are found 
not to be clear enough, it would be better to comment on them 
than to submit them to the deliberation of the Chapter. 

To come back to what I have already written to you: 
what is necessary for the present is, that you set out for 
Naples in regard to the affair of Caposele. As I have 
explained to you, it will suffer no delay, and we shall have 
the remorse of having failed in this foundation, as it may 
happen if we delay any longer. Your stay at Naples will 
very likely be prolonged, for I beg you not to leave the 
city before the affair is brought to a conclusion. You must 
moreover write to me from Naples ; for if things are pro 
tracted too long, we shall let you know what is to be 
done. . . . 

After an autograph sketch, partly illegible, preserved in 
the archives of Father General at Rome. 



n* 



1 66 General Corresprndence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 78. 

To the King of Naples. 

Petition for founding a house at Caposele. 

[1746.] 

The undersigned , missionary secular priests , humbly 
expose to your Majesty the following- facts : 

Having during this year given missions in the alrchdiocese 
of Conza, they have been most urgently asked by the Most 
Reverend Archbishop 1 and by the people to establish 
themselves in this diocese, particularly in the territory 
of Caposele. Here there is a church under the title 
of Mater Domini together with a house containing" a few 
rooms. These priests could thus help the souls in this vast 
archdiocese whom the distance from Naples deprives of many 
spiritual aids, especially of missions. 

Prostrate, therefore, at the feet of your Majesty, who are 
so zealous for the welfare of your vassals, they humbly 
supplicate you to deign to give your royal consent so that 
the petitioners may live together in the convent of M&ter 
Domini, and may also enlarge the house which is at present 
too small. In the mean time profoundly humbling themselves 
before the royal throne they promise that they will alwayfc 
pray more and more to the divine Majesty for the happiness 
of your kingdom. 

After a copy marked with the following motto written by 
the hand of St. Alphonsus : " Live Jesus and Mary ! Memorial 
for Caposele." 

1 Mgr. Giuseppe Nicolai, Archbishop of Conza from 1731 till 1759. 



1746. j Letter 79. 167 

LETTER 79. 

To Father Giovanni Mazzini, Rector at Pagani. 
Various regulations in regard to studies. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

[TROIA], November 27, [1746]. 

I write you in all haste this Sunday morning, the last 
day of the mission. The concourse of the people, as well 
as the praise that we have received, was truly wonderful. 
The people say that they never had such a mission. Soli 
Deo, etc. 

As for the promised help, I have learned that my father 
placed at my disposal not two hundred ducats , as I 
thought, but only one hundred. Hence fifty ducats are 
for you. 

I shall send the manuscripts, etc., to Don Francesco. 1 
But I wish that he should continue to compose his treatise 
on Scholastic Theology, and I require of him that he 
should consult no other books than those of Habert. Let 
him only put into it, but in a more abbreviated form, what 
is found in Habert, leaving out one or the other proof or useless 
objection. Tell him to obey without making a reply ; and 
for mercy s sake let him attend more to clearness than to 
elegance of style. 

I rejoice at what I hear about Don Nicola; 2 let him 
apply himself to his studies but little, till he has entirely 
recovered. It is sufficient if he only listens without writing. 
Let Don Biagio [Amarante] go out, and point out to him, 
as you think best, the walks that he is to take. 

Let all recommend me to Jesus and Mary. 

After the Roman edition. 

1 Father Francesco Sanseverino, who afterwards became Archbishop 
of Palermo. 

2 D. Nicola Muscarelli, a student of the Congregation. 



1 68 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 80. 

To Sister Maria Celeste Poppa in the Monastery of the 
Annunciation at Foggia. 

He points out what should be done in order to abolish the 
figured chant. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

S. MARIA BELLA CONSOLAZIONE, January 30, [1747]. 

I answer your letter. You are not obliged to obey in 
that which regards the figured chant; 1 for if it knew all, the 
Sacred Congregation would certainly forbid this cursed 
chant. But since hell is making so many efforts to re 
establish its use, why should you not do something on 
your part for the love of Jesus Christ? I would advise you 
and Sister Crocifissa, or you alone, secretly to address 
another letter to the Sacred Congregation, in which you 
might state the facts as follows: "The figured chant has 
just been abolished in our monastery; from it resulted 
innumerable disorders in the monasteries of Foggia on 
account of the teachers who had to be employed, the meals 
and refreshments that had to be offered to seculars, especially 
during Holy Week, without speaking of the distractions 
given to the nuns, of the vanity that this chant provoked, 
of the expense, of the faults against the Rule, and of other 
inconveniences. Now we have heard that application has 
been made to the Sacred Congregation to have this pro 
hibition removed. But perhaps no statement was made 
about all the abuses that we have just enumerated. Hence to 
obey the dictates of our conscience and to promote the 
honor of Jesus Christ, we have believed it to be our duty to 
point out the disorders that have resulted therefrom, and 
that have stirred up general murmurings at Foggia and 
outside of it; and this in order that your Eminences (the 
1 See Letter 71. 



mj-i Letter 8 o. 169 

plural must be used^} far from permitting what is asked of 
you, might formally and forever forbid it." 

Finish the petition by these words: The undersigned, 
full of gratitude, will pray to God to reward you. 

The petition should have at the beginning the words: 
Eminent Sirs. 

It should end as follows : Sister Maria Celeste Poppa 
and Sister Maria Crocijissa Petitto, professed religious of 
the monastery of the Annunciation at Foggia, have the 
honor of exposing to your Eminences the following facts: 
The use of figured music has been lately abolished in our 
monastery, as above. 

On the envelope you should write: 
To his Eminence 

The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops 
and Regulars. Rome. 

Send, then, secretly your letter to Sister Maria Celeste 
of the Most Holy Saviour 1 that she may frank it at the 
post-office by paying two or three grains ; 2 tell her from me 
that there is question of an affair of very great importance 
to the glory of God. 

This measure will cause you trouble ; but do not hesitate 
to take it, and if you have to suffer on account of it, suffer 
for the love of Jesus Christ. If you neglect this matter, 
and the answer having once come from Rome and the 
crying abuse having been re-established, you will perhaps 
not be able to remedy it, and this would be for you a cause 
of continual remorse. 

As for direction, continue freely to be guided by the 
advice of your confessor, and go on whether you are cold 
or not. It is well to have the holy fear of God, that is, the 

1 Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa of whom \ve have given a short 
notice above (Letter 6) had founded at Foggia the monastery of the 
Most Holy Saviour about the year 1739. 

2 I grain =- fr. 0.0425. 



1 70 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

fear of displeasing him ; but confidence should always over 
come fear. Dilate unceasingly your heart by confidence in 
the infinite goodness of God and in the merits of Jesus 
Christ with the desire to become the first saint in Paradise, 
if such is the good pleasure of the Lord, not for your own 
good, but in order to render greater glory to God, and to 
love Jesus Christ more. Always pray to Jesus and Mary 
for me. I remain, etc. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Acquaint your confessor with everything. As to Sister 
Maria Emanuella, if your confessor puts you under obedience 
to give her a reprimand, do so through obedience, but do 
not continue to treat with this Sister in a familiar way. Live 
Jesus and Mary ! 

Your servant. 

After the original in possession of Cavaliere Giancarlo 
Rossi at Rome. 

LETTER 8l. 

To Sister Maria Crocifissa Petitto, at Foggia. 
The same subject. 

S. MARIA DELLA CONSOLAZIONE, [January 30, 1747]. 
All goes well. Continue in all security to follow the 
direction of your confessor, and desire once for all to become 
a saint. I have written to Sister Celeste what I wish you to 
do to prevent this cursed chant. Don Cesare [Sportelli] is 
not here. I will see, etc. Tell your sister that she is 
foolish to act thus. Pray always to Jesus and Mary for me. 
Live Jesus and Mary ! 
Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 
After an old copy. 



I747-] Letter 82. 1 7 1 

LETTER 82. 
To Sister Maria Celeste Poppa. 

The same subject. Utility of persecutions. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

S. MARIA BELLA CONSOLAZIONE, [March 10, 1747]. 

I have received your letter, full as it is of fears and human 
considerations. A fine spouse of Jesus Christ is she who is 
afraid of being persecuted for the love of Jesus Christ ! 
You have performed a good action, 1 and now you repent 
of it ! Do you not know that it is a fault to repent of the 
good that one has done? - - But you say, / shall be 
persecuted. Amen. You should rejoice at this, even 
desire it, and not fear it. Beati qui perse cutionem patiuntur, 
propter justitiam. [Blessed are they that suffer persecution 
for justice sake. Matt. v. 10.] I would like that, for the 
love of Jesus Christ, you would be without ceasing exposed 
to the persecutions of the world. You very well know the 
disturbances that have been created ; and if you do not 
know them, I know them and all Foggia knows them. 
For pity s sake, do not exhibit again such pusillanimity; 
if not I shall almost lose the hope of seeing you one day in 
heaven. I say the same thing to Sister Maria [Crocifissa]. 
Do what I have written to you, and pray for me. I also 
ask the prayers of Sister Maria [Crocifissa]. Live Jesus 
and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 

1 It seems that the Sisters had written to the Sacred Congregation 
and then through fear of persecutions had afterwards repented 
of this courageous act. 



172 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 83. 

To Father Giovanni Mazzini ? 
Confidence of the saint in the Blessed Virgin. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NAPLES, 1 June 25, [1747]. 

In reference to the affairs at Nocera our opponents 
announce that they will be victorious. I firmly hope, 
however, that through the protection of the Blessed Virgin 
this will not be the case. 

The exequatur for Caposele is already in my hands, and 
without conditions. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Offer in the evening a special prayer to the Blessed 
Virgin ; for we wish to make an attempt to obtain from the 
king the approbation of our Rule. Have also Communions 
offered for this purpose. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 84. 

To the Priest Girolamo Ferrara, Novice of the Congregation 
at Ciorani. 

Vocation and family affairs. Examination of a particular 
case. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[NAPLES], July i, [1747]. 

May the will of God be always done ! My dear Girolamo : 
The news 2 about your brother s death has made me make 
a powerful act of resignation. 

1 During this year the saint remained at Naples about three 
months, in order to attend to the affairs of the Congregation and to 
gain the law-suit over the enemies of the house at Pagani. 

2 D. Girolamo had scarcely entered the novitiate when he received 
the sad news of the sudden death of his brother. 



I747-] Letter 8 4- i?3 

To be short, if your two sisters had sufficient means to 
live at home, I should not hesitate to counsel you to remain 
in the Congregation; for there is morally no danger in 
regard to their virtue ; in fact even in case you should die, 
this danger would not exist, since one of them is already 
old enough to take care of the house. 

The only difficulty is that, as the revenues consist 
of rents, I do not know whether women without the help 
of a man would succeed in collecting the dues; but you 
know the people and the customs of the country, and may 
be able to settle this question better than I. 

As for placing your sisters in a convent, my dear Giro- 
lamo, this is a matter that seems to me to be very difficult, 
and even morally impossible. At first, it would be difficult 
to find a convent that would be willing to receive persons 
so aged; and besides, they would reluctantly give their 
consent to be shut up there (this would require a divine 
vocation), in order to permit you to retire among us. 
Moreover, if no one remains at home, who will take care 
of the rents, and would pay what would be owing to the 
convent? You must, therefore, think no more about your 
plan in regard to the convent. 

It would be more easy to admit that your sisters could 
quietly live at home without you ; and even if this would 
now appear to them impossible, yet if they knew that you 
have decided not to leave the Congregation, and if they 
become convinced of this by experience during a certain 
time, I should think that they would then find means 
of subsisting by exacting the payment of what is coming to 
them, just as they would have to do if you were to die. 
The archpriest 1 seems to hold for certain that you are 
obliged to return to your family. There is no doubt that in 
a similar case Rome would grant even to professed religious 
the permission to leave the convent and to return home. 
1 The archpriest of Teora, the birth-place of D. Girolamo. 



1 74 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

But we must observe that it is one thing to have the 
permission to live in one s family, and another thing to be 
obliged to do so when there is no danger to morals, and 
there is a way of subsisting without being there to give 
assistance. 

However, I can see no difficulty in allowing you to spend 
some time in your family in order to regulate the affairs, 
and especially to settle the pretensions of your married 
sister by arranging everything as well as you can. But I 
do not wish you to interfere too much in other disputes for 
fear that you might furnish an additional reason for being 
obliged to remain with your family. 

I see with pleasure the affection that you bear towards 
the Congregation ; but I prefer to have you yourself in the 
Congregation rather than your property. 

The archpriest wishes, he writes, that you should hasten 
to come to the assistance of your family ; but I think that 
there is no need of hurry ; perhaps it would even be better 
for you to remain with us to see how things will end, and 
to write that you are bound by the vow of obedience, etc., 1 
that your sisters are grown up and reasonable, that they 
have enough on which they can live. Try this means first, 
and you will see what will be the result. I do not doubt 
that at first sight such an answer will create a great stir ; 
but I believe that in time people will persuade themselves 
that you are not disposed to return home, nor to leave the 
Congregation, and then they will become reconciled; and 
as vexatio dat intellectual [vexation gives understanding], I 
believe that your sisters will consent to see to the revenues 
themselves and find means to live comfortably without you. 

The Doctors of Salamanca 2 say with Sanchez, Castro- 

1 D. Girolamo by the advice of Father Cafaro had made the 
preceding year the vow of entering the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Saviour. 

2 TV. 15, c. 3, n. 54. 






I747-] Letter 8 4- 175 

palao, Suarez (and Bonacina is of the same opinion), that 
it is only in case of extreme necessity, either of poverty or 
of danger of prostitutiou, that the brother is obliged to 
come to the assistance of his sister by leaving the Com 
munity, especially if he is bound by a vow or an oath. 
Now such a necessity does not exist here. 

However, my dear Girolamo, in order to be able to give 
you a decided answer I should have to speak to you orally ; 
but I desire that the Rector [Father Andrea Villani] and 
Fathers N. and N. should first hold a consultation about 
this matter, and that then they should write to me what 
they think ; for the case is so complicated. 

Why could not your sisters retire to the house of your 
married sister and live with her? In order that they might 
be received there, I should not make any difficulty if you 
would make a present of your share, etc. I repeat that we 
need not be in too great a hurry. Let the affair first be 
maturely discussed with the Fathers ; then communicate to 
me the opinions, and we shall come to a decision; for 
if you go home, I know not what entreaties the archpriest 
and the Archbishop [of Conza] may have in reserve for 
you , so that you will no more be able to extricate 
yourself. 

Let us have recourse to prayer, and let us hope that God 
will enlighten us to know surely his will ; this is all that you 
desire, and this is all that I desire. I remain, etc. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 



176 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 85. 
To a Father of the Congregation. 

Course of action in order to save the vocation of Don 
Ferrara. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[NAPLES], July 4, [1747]. 

Father Andrea writes to me from Ciorani what Don 
Girolamo says. I am decidedly of opinion that he should 
not depart from Ciorani, as I have written to him ; and 
if he departs, I shall impose it upon him as a matter 
of conscience. I positively say that his sisters stand in no 
need of his assistance. As to matters in litigation and to 
other necessities, let the sisters take care of these things 
themselves as they did before: Mortui sepeliant mortuos 
suos. [Let the dead bury the dead.] And if something 
has been overlooked, or if a suit has been lost, what 
matters it? Don Girolamo should not on that account lose 
his vocation, or expose himself to lose it. I regret to see by 
his letter that he inclines somewhat to go to Teora ; but he 
has finally left the matter to be decided by me. 1 I have 
recommended myself to God, and what I have just said is 
my decided opinion. Now you will notice that the archpriest 
[of Teora] will still write to him, or send him word, etc. 
Father Andrea [Villani] should then take care not to let 
him read the letters of the archpriest, as he let him read the 
last letter. This was wrong ; it would have been sufficient 
had he told Father Girolamo about the affair, because the 
archpriest caused him to have scruples, and you know that 
Don Girolamo is naturally scrupulous. This scruple I am 
willing to take upon my own conscience. As much as 
possible prevent him from seeing any one that has come 

1 D. Girolamo abided by the saint s decision, persevered in the 
Institute, and on March 25, 1748, made his profession. 



1747- J Letter 86. 177 

from Teora. Moreover, if a letter should come from the 
archpriest or the Grand-Vicar, and the letter might renew 
his scruples, let Father Andrea keep him in ignorance of it ; 
send me the letter, and I will answer the archbishop. 

I remain, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
Recommend me to Jesus Christ and to Mary. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 86. 
To Father Giovanni Mazzini, Rector of the House at Pagani. 

Solicitude of the saint to obtain the royal approbation 
of his Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[NAPLES], July 4, [1747]. 

Send this little document at once to Father Andrea at 
Ciorani, so that on Friday without fail he may return it 
through Angelillo. It is an abridgment of the Rule which 
I composed with D. Cesare [Sportelli] and which is to be 
presented to the king. I wish, however, that Father 
Andrea should see the manuscript before it is copied, so 
that he may make some remarks; and if your Reverence 
before sending it to Father Andrea would look it over and 
note whatever you think needs improvement, I should be 
greatly pleased. But there must be no delay, as in every 
case, it must be forwarded to Ciorani on Friday. Send, 
therefore, this letter to Father Andrea. You will notice 
that we have written only what is most necessary, and that 
we have purposely omitted matters of little importance. In 
reference to that most important affair about which Don 
Cesare has spoken to you I yesterday called upon Bran- 
cone, 1 who told me that he had forgotten it. It will be 
necessary that we again apply to him. In the mean time, 
continue the prayers, since this affair is of the greatest 

1 This was Marquis Brancone, Secretary of State. 
12 



178 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

importance to our Congregation. Hence the necessity 
of offering many prayers. 

You will remark that we have purposely inserted oath 
instead of vow of perseverance, in order to take away the 
fear that people have of seeing a new Order established. 
The fact is the oath from the obligation of which the 
bishops cannot free any one, is more solid than the vow, in 
regard to which they certainly can give a dispensation. 

My purgatory at Naples still continues, and will continue, 
I do not know how long. I remain, etc. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Recommend me to Jesus and Mary. Send me from 
Ciorani a pair of white stockings. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 87. 
To one of the General Consultors of the Congregation. 

He complains to him of the difficulties raised against the 
project of obtaining from the king the approbation of the 
Institute. 

[NAPLES], July 4, 1747. 

To tell the truth, if it were not for the sake of the 
Congregation, I would leave everything and would shut 
myself up in a cell at Ciorani without busying myself about 
anything ; but my conscience will not permit such a thing. 
I imagined that your Reverence and the others would have 
referred to me this affair in which I proceed so carefully, or 
at least to me and D. Cesare [Sportelli] as the Fathers 
of Pagani have done; but your letter filled with scruples 
conditions and fears has caused me greater trouble. You 
leave me in this disturbed state so that I know not what 
to do. I do not wish however to hear more complaints 
in the Congregation; I have heard enough of them. 

Remember well that in regard to the affairs we are in 



I747-] Letter 87. 1 79 

great hopes; for Brancone takes an interest in them, the 
king is favorable ; the more so since Father Pepe l has 
spoken to him; the Grand Almoner wishes to help us; 
later on things will change and evil impressions will be dis 
sipated. Does it therefore seem prudent to protract things ? 
I assure you in the presence of Jesus Christ that if this 
great affair miscarries there will be no longer any remedy. 
I say this great affair, because on it depends the stability 
of the Congregation. All your fears are frivolous : the 
greatest fear that we should have is that the Congregation, 
deprived of the king s approbation, may never have true 
stability and may perhaps end by being dissolved. 

Now, this being said, I decline all responsibility before 
God ; it is sufficient for me if the affair does not fail through 
my fault. I do not speak thus because I wish to play the 
part of a founder and of a despot. You see how I am seeking 
counsel in my doubts and how I have been seeking it from 
the beginning. When one sees that things are done with 
maturity and discretion, do you think it praiseworthy to 
wish to thwart them ? I pray to Jesus Christ to close his 
eyes to my sins and not to destroy on their account this 
work which is his own. You should also have the prayers 
continued. 

Why should you put before me so many difficulties 
which you see in this union ? 2 I am myself so much opposed 
to it that I will never give my consent, for the reason that 
you give and for other reasons, except in a case that is 
morally impossible, since this affair could not be brought 
about except causa cognita [the cause being known] and with 
your consent. . . [The rest of the letter is wanting.] 

After an old copy. 

1 Father Francesco Pepe, S. J., a friend of St. Alphonsus. 

2 D. Vincenzo Mannarini, at that time Superior of the Congregation 
of the Most Blessed Sacrament, absolutely wished to re-unite his 
Congregation to the Congregation of St. Alphonsus. 



180 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 88. 

* 

To Father Giovanni Mazzini. 
Request for counsel in a difficult affair. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NAPLES, July 22, [1747]. 

If the affair had gone on as I wished it, it would have 
gone on too smoothly ; but now it will go on with many 
embarrassments and much labor; but the case is not 
desperate. 

This morning I received the answer. Our friend [Mar 
quis Brancone] has spoken with great force. The king has 
conceived a high idea of our work, but he is a little afraid 
of new Institutes. Hence he desires the affair to pass 
through the hands of the Grand Almoner and the Royal 
Council so as to find out what views are held by them. 
The king, however, has so high an opinion of our work 
that he himself has thought that we should write to the 
Pope to ask him to give up one of the many convents 
that exist, and to put into it members of our Congregation. 
To-day the royal ordinance with a copy of our Rule is to be 
sent to the Grand Almoner, who will make his report. 

I also spoke this morning to the Grand Almoner, who 
repeated to me more than once: "Unite with Mannarini, 
and come together to see me." I positively refused to 
entertain the idea of union, because such a thing would be 
impossible, as the Institute is different from ours, has 
schools, and prefers cities, etc. 1 This I said and will always 
say. But a thought has come to my mind which has 
agitated me in a thousand ways. I thought within myself: 
" Let us secure now the king s approbation on which de 
pends that of Rome, and consequently all the rest; and 

1 The Congregation of the Most Holy Sacrament took charge 
of public schools and could have houses in the cities. 






I747-] Letter 88. 181 

then Deus et dies [God and time]. The partisans of Man- 
narini will attend to their own affairs and we to ours." 
Wherefore I regard this as certain: the Grand Almoner is 
favorable to Mannarini, and would not like to see our 
Congregation approved, while to the Congregation that is 
protected by him the approbation is refused. Hence if we 
wish both Congregations to be approved together, he will 
be in our favor; but if this is not done, the contrary will 
happen, and the affair will be a failure, because the king 
wishes to depend on his Council. 

Here are then my considerations: On the one hand, 1 
consider that by obtaining this approbation, the establish 
ment of the Congregation would be secured ; but which 
Congregation is to be approved, ours or theirs ? our Rule 
or theirs ? These are the differences that would have to be 
settled, and it appears to me to be most difficult, because 
we do not wish to change our Institute nor are they willing 
to change theirs. 

Come together, talk over the matter, reflect upon it ; and 
then on Monday or Tuesday let D. Cesare be so kind as to 
come to me at Naples and report to me what have been the 
views expressed. Send some one to Ciorani to-morrow 
with this letter, and let them also tell you what is their 
opinion. The case is very embarrassing. I do not write to 
Ciorani so as not to be obliged to repeat the same thing. 
Every evening let all our houses say the prayers for the 
king ; and let this be done if possible at Mass. 

As for the suit} information will be given at the beginning 
of next week. 

After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 

1 This is the law-suit brought by D. Francesco Contaldi against 
the house at Pagani. 



12* 



1 82 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 89. 
To Mgr. Celestino Galiano, Grand Almoner. 

Considerations in view of the memorial that is to be pre 
sented for obtaining the royal approbation of the Institute. 

[Month of July, 1747.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
For the report that is to be presented we ask to subjoin 
the following reflections : 

1. Experience has already proved how useful and even 
necessary the missions are for the rural districts, especially 
of the kingdom of Naples, where the hamlets are so numer 
ous, so thickly settled, and at the same time, so destitute 
of spiritual help. Although the city of Naples is well 
provided with such help, yet this is not the case in the 
remaining part of the kingdom ; and although from the city 
of Naples and other populous cities of the kingdom every 
year various missions are given, these labors nevertheless 
correspond only in a feeble measure to the immense want 
that exists, so that many places remain from twenty to 
thirty years without a mission. Hence this is the cause 
why so many people are found there without even knowing 
the necessary mysteries of faith. It, therefore, seems to be 
very necessary that there should be more houses of this 
Congregation of missionaries of the Most Holy Saviour, 
who devote themselves to this exercise and to the spiritual 
culture of these country places, for which the missions are 
so useful and even necessary. They could then spend their 
time as well in instructing in divine things so many poor 
people that live in these places, as in remedying the bad 
confessions that are made, especially in the kingdom of 
Naples where the rural hamlets are as numerous as they are 
populous. 

2. Moreover, this work is known to be most useful on 



I747-] Letter 8 c). 183 

account of the continual assistance that it furnishes to the 
places where missions have been given. The missions do 
certainly a great deal of good ; but the misfortune is that, 
if after the missions have been given, the people do not see 
the missionaries and are not able to go where they live, 
they fall back into their old evil ways. This Congre 
gation has for its aim not only to go through the country, 
helping the people who mostly need spiritual help, and 
going in search of them in the most abandoned places and 
in hamlets, but it has, besides, for its chief rule that its 
members must return from time to time to the places where the 
missions have been given for the purpose of preaching, 
of administering the holy sacraments ; and thus they renew 
and preserve the fruits of the missions. And for this end 
the Congregation has as its fundamental rule to establish its 
houses outside of the inhabited places and in the centre 
of the dioceses, for these reasons: that they may better 
attend to this duty of travelling continually through the 
country; that the country people round about may find 
it convenient to have recourse to them as often as they wish 
in order to see the missionaries in the church and settle the 
affairs of their conscience ; and finally, that in these dioceses 
an opportunity be given to ecclesiastics and priests to make 
their retreat while remaining in the houses of the mission 
aries. 

After an autograph sketch preserved in the archives of the 
house at Pagani. 



184 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 90. 
To Father Paul Cafaro, his Director. 

The king of Naples, after the death of Mgr. Domenico 
Rosso, Archbishop of Palermo, wished to promote to the 
archbishopric our saint, who thus expresses his dislike for 
such a dignity. 

[End of July, 1747.] 

Now we must use entreaties, we must pray, 

because I see myself exposed to a grave persecution and in 
the greatest distress. The king has resolved to select me 
to be archbishop of Palermo; but I would rather hide 
myself in the woods than accept such a dignity. 1 

Quoted by Tannoia , "Life of St. Alphonsus," Book ii. 
Chapter xxviii. 

LETTER 91. 
To Father Giovanni Mazzini. 

Difficulties that the saint meets with at Naples on account 
of the approbation of the Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[NAPLES], August i, [1747]. 

I write in haste a letter for all, as I have but little time. 
I have your letters and those from Ciorani. You must 
now pray to Jesus Christ to give me strength and light, for 
I have lost sleep, appetite, etc. Yesterday morning the 
Grand Almoner almost absolutely refused at first to take 
our affair into consideration; afterwards, however, it was 
taken up ; may God grant that the report may not be ad 
verse ! The Blessed Virgin can obtain for us success ; hence 

1 Father Cesare Sportelli thus wrote from Naples to Father 
Mazzini: "Father Rector Major has been strongly urged to accept 
the episcopate, and is still in great fear about it. He has, however, 
made a wonderful defence." 



I747-] Letter 91. 185 

continue and have others to continue the prayers. To-morrow 
I must return to the charge. 

This morning I came to a successful understanding with 
Mannarini and spoke to him decidedly on a certain point. 
He has acquiesced in a few things. 

These are not things that should be written in a letter, 
either because it is not expedient to confide them to paper, 
or because we need each time ten pages to say everything. 

In the midst of this confusion and embarrassment the 
news from the novitiate consoles me ; especially do I rejoice 
to hear that Don Girolamo [Ferrara] is so happy and 
cheerful. 

Father Cesare l may now set out for Caposele with God s 
holy blessing. Father Andrea has thought fit to put me to 
shame with all his humiliations, which are but subjects 
of confusion to me. But it is impossible at a distance to 
confer with one another by letter. 

Father Cesare should speak to the Archbishop of Conza 
to find out in what way it might be brought about at Rome 
that a Cardinal be appointed by the Pope to interest himself in 
having the Congregation approved. For if the Blessed 
Virgin would help us to succeed with the king, etc., we 
should take care that at least the cause of the approbation 
may be introduced at Rome. 

Recommend me to Jesus and Mary. Perhaps I shall 
send you a priest who is already a missionary. I must 
however maturely examine this matter which is rather a 
delicate affair and needs a dispensation. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

After the Roman edition. 

1 Father Cesare Sportelli was then to treat in Caposele of the 
affair of a new foundation of the house of Mater Domini. 



1 86 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 



LETTER 92. 
To a General Consultor. 

Trials and annoyances that the saint has to endure at 
Naples. 

[August, 1 747-] 

Continue to pray for the Congregation and for me 

who am here pining away at Naples while treating with 
those ministers who are making life a burden to me. My 
heart is filled with bitterness ; I cannot endure this any 
longer; I should like to run away, and yet I cannot leave 
Naples. I must assist in bringing our affairs to a close as 
soon as possible. 

A consultation is now going on, and our affair Jias been 
proposed in the Royal Council. The king has thought 
of adopting a plan which will perhaps be more useful to the 
Congregation. 

D. Vincenzo [Mannarini] is going about trying to effect a 
union ; but I always put forward the excuse that such does 
not really appear to be the will of God. It is my firm 
conviction that this union cannot be accomplished, nor shall 
I ever give my consent to it 

After an incomplete copy. 



LETTER 93. 
To Father D. Cesare Sportelli. 

A power of attorney in regard to the founding of a house 
at Caposele. 

[November 27, 1747.] 

This present power of attorney, per epistolam [through 
letter], is given by me the undersigned Father D. Alfonso 



I747-] Letter ys* 187 

de Liguori, Rector Major of the priests, called the priests 
of the Most Holy Saviour, and of all their houses, in my 
own name as well as in the name of all my companions, 
present and future. 

Not being able to be personally present to transact the 
affairs of [Conza and Caposele], and confiding in the fidelity 
and integrity of the Very Rev. Father Cesare Sportelli, my 
companion, who although absent is just as if he were 
present, I appoint and constitute him my procurator [at 
torney] and that of my companions, present and future, 
with all the sufficient and necessary power, even with 
the clause ut alter ego [another self] to make as it will 
seem best one or more agreements, with the Illustrious 
Monsignor D. Giuseppe Niccolai, Archbishop of Conza, 
with the Reverend clergy of Caposele and with all other 
benefactors, who intend to co-operate in the establishment 
of those Fathers, priests of Caposele, and especially in the 
place or monastery, called , Maria Mater Domini, where 
there is question of conveying to them the church and the 
house situated there, with the actual annual income of four 
hundred ducats to be assigned for their maintenance, that 
is, a hundred and fifty ducats from the Reverend clergy, 
and the rest from the Most Illustrious Monsignor, the 
archbishop and other benefactors ; with all the agreements 
and conditions that will appear to be suitable, and about 
which agreements have been made by the said procurator 
appointed by me, promising to ratify and confirm them all 
and again to ratify them should it be necessary. 

CIORANI, November 27, 1747. 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, Rector Major. 

CONSTANTINO ZAMPOLI, witness. 
D. ANDREA GAUDIELLO, " 
D. FRANCESCO DI MARI, " 

I Francesco Aniello Zampoli, notary, attest that the 
foregoing signature is that made by the hand of the above- 



1 88 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

mentioned Very Rev. Father Don Alfonso de Liguori, 
Superior-General. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 94. 

To the Priest Francesco Margotta* of Calitri. 
He admits him into the Congregation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, December 7, 1747. 

My dear and much esteemed Francesco: I must inform 
you that last evening we read, first, the letter that con 
tained the news of the new foundation [of the house at 
Caposele] ; then your letter in which you make known to 
us your resolution. But I really do not know which gave 
to all a greater joy, the news of the foundation or the news 
of the resolution that you, my dear Brother, have taken. 
I use the title my dear Brother, because, in accordance with 
what I herewith communicate to you, I receive you to-day 

1 We read the following account of this estimable member of the 
Institute in the catalogue of the Congregation : 

" On the 7th of December, 1747, P>ancesco Margotta a priest and 
a native of Calitri, was admitted into the Congregation. He was in 
his forty-eighth year, and had been for some time a missionary and 
a member of the venerable Congregation of Father Pavone, es 
tablished in the Collegio Massimo of the Jesuit Fathers at Naples. 
He found himself necessarily engaged in numerous domestic affairs ; 
but he employed them for the profit of the Congregation by stipulat 
ing an advantageous donation in favor of the new house at Caposele. 
The care of his atfairs kept him for some time at Calitri, and our 
holy founder permitted him to begin his novitiate at home, where he 
remained till March 3, when he preceded to Ciorani to complete it. 
He made his profession in the presence of Father Villani, July 2, 
1748. After rendering the greatest services to the Congregation, 
which he likewise made the heir of all his property, he died a holy 
death, August n, 1764. * 



1747-1 Letter 94. 189 

into our Congregation as a brother and as a dear companion, 
so that your novitiate begins to-day even though you may 
be obliged to remain at Caiitri for some time in order to 
settle your affairs. You have given to the Congregation all 
that of which you could dispose ; but know that our Con 
gregation and each one of us love you in such a manner that 
even if you had brought nothing, we would gladly have 
admitted you. The reason of this is because in you we 
shall receive a confrere that really wishes to become a saint. 
I am quite confident that you will attain the object of your 
desires, especially after you have maturely considered the 
matter, free from all excitement or passion, and your 
director, as well as the archbishop, has fully concurred in 
all your plans. 

Remain, therefore, dear Brother, at Caiitri without the 
least uneasiness as long as it will be convenient to you to 
arrange your affairs. It is true, we are all impatiently 
awaiting your arrival; yet I wish that you should settle 
matters in a quiet way. Such is your ardent spirit that you 
will need no motives to induce you to enter solitude as soon 
as possible. I can imagine, and am convinced, that your 
heart is sighing for the moment in which you may be able 
to enter the asylu.n that God has destined for you from all 
eternity that you might sanctify yourself. I would be 
delighted to see you here before my departure for Naples 
whither you know I must go either the day after New Year 
or after Epiphany to attend to the business of the Con 
gregation. But I repeat, I do not wish that you should 
become disquieted on this account ; for if I have not this 
consolation I shall offer it as a sacrifice to Jesus Christ. Be 
assured that all are expecting you with open arms. Above 
all have Fathers Paolo [Cafaro] and [D. Girolamo] Ferrara 
heard the news with inexpressible joy. To-day all the 
novices will go to Communion for you in order that Jesus 
Christ may bring to a speedy conclusion all your most 



190 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

necessary affairs, and you may be enabled to come among 
us as soon as possible. 

From this time forward you must pray for me, but in a 
way different from that in which you have done heretofore, 
since from this moment I impose upon you this duty 
of praying for me by virtue of obedience, because you are 
now one of us. Hence every morning at your Mass and 
during your thanksgiving recommend me to Jesus Christ 
that he may bestow upon me a love for him. and a love for 
his Mother Mary, and that I may accomplish the divine 
will in a perfect manner. I point out in a precise way my 
intention, so that you may always have it impressed on 
your mind what prayer you must say, and may not for 
get it. 

On my. part I shall in return do you the same favor. 
Therefore, in the name of the Most Blessed Trinity, of 
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and of Mary Immaculate, 
I admit you, receive you and bless you, that you may 
belong entirely to God, as such is doubtless his holy will. 
As soon as you write to your director, Don Angelo, I 
enjoin upon you the duty of expressing to him my thanks 
for the permission that he has granted you, and of telling 
him at the same time that the whole Congregation will 
always owe him a debt of gratitude. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 



1748.] Letter 95. 191 

LETTER 95. 
To Father Andrea Villani, Rector of the House at Ciorani. 

(This letter was written in the name of the saint by Father 
D. Celestino de Robertis.) 

The saint consents to the making of a new agreement with 
the founder of the house at Ciorani but on certain conditions. * 

Praised be the Most Blessed Sacrament and Mary Im 
maculate ! 

NAPLES, February 4, 1748. 

In reference to the affair about Nocera, our Father [D. 
Alfonso] does not think it well to have anything done at 
the present time, because there would be too much risk on 
account of circumstances which cannot be mentioned in a 
letter, and the loss of this case might be for us the loss 
of other foundations. The Father wishes to have your 
opinion and that of Father Saverio [Rossi] about this matter. 

As regards the letter of Don Andrea [Sarnelli], let him 
know immediately (for this purpose Father Saverio should 
go there at once if he can, or your Reverence should go, 
because he [Don Alfonso] wishes to receive an answer by 
Saturday) that our Father entertains the greatest affection 
and veneration for him who with so much love has brought 
us to Ciorani. Hence in order to comply with his desires, 
he consents to the incurring of some loss, but not so great a 
loss as would give him scruples of conscience. For the 
rest, he will do what he can to please him. In short, let 
him know this in these or similar words, according as you 
think best. Tell him, therefore, that of the one hundred 
and fifty ducats, which he now wishes to give us annually 

1 On the occasion of the foundation of the house at Ciorani, the 
priest, D. Andrea Sarnelli, a brother of our Venerable Gennaro had 
given us by a public deed the sum of two hundred ducats annually. 
Wishing better to regulate this donation, he made to St. Alphonsus 
new propositions, which form the subject of the present letter. 



1 9 2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

during- his life, we cannot put ourselves under any obligation 
of spending a part for the benefit of the church. We shall 
do what we can, as he has seen us do in the midst of all 
our miseries ; but we must not be put under any obligation. 
He knows the straits in which we are, and so for pity s 
sake, he should not oblige us to do such a thing. 

In regard to the establishment of other houses, of which 
he speaks in his letter, it is well for him to know that we 
have had hints given us by the ministers not to accept any 
more houses. Our Father, therefore, plainly says that he 
will not have the boldness to ask for new foundations. He 
[Don Sarnelli] sees how many subjects we are, how poor 
we are ; therefore, he who loves us should help us as much 
as he can. He has already seen that we have always held 
him in high esteem. Tell him that when he wishes to 
make the contract, our Father will be ready; but inform 
him that Father Alfonso himself wishes to draw up the 
minutes of the contract so as to avoid all litigation, which 
may afterwards be begun by the relatives of Don Andrea 
who, he already knows, can hardly look at us. For this 
reason it will be necessary for him to give us all the papers, 
or at least an abstract of them, so as to be able to protect 
ourselves. 

All this you will say to him, and send an answer by 
Saturday. Our Father also says that it will be necessary to 
write this new contract in words other than those in which 
the first contract was drawn up. We have lately received 
information about certain points that cannot be intrusted to 
paper, and that make it our duty to ask Don Andrea to 
write out this agreement. The foundation of Ciorani has 
not the express approbation of the king. The brother 
of Don Andrea has uttered the threat that when the latter 
dies, measures will be taken to drive us at once from 
Ciorani. This, besides other things, is what we know from 
a good source. Hence should Don Andrea wish to give us 



1748.] Letter 95. 193 

less than one hundred and twenty ducats, it would still be 
necessary to make a new contract; but I repeat, it must be 
worded differently, and state that the donation is destined, 
not for the Congregation, as was mentioned in the first 
contract, but for us, priests of the Most Holy Saviour, as 
private individuals. It might also be well, by wa y of greater 
precaution, to add to this donation the obligation of saying 
for example, one Mass every month ; but it must be re 
marked that this new contract does not depend at all on the 
first contract ; for if ever the first should be annulled, the second 
would also be annulled. It is necessary to say that the first 
contract has become null and void, and that regard should 
be had only to the second, in which it is mentioned that a 
donation is no longer made to the Congregation to found a 
house at Ciorani, but that it is bestowed upon us who are 
named in the contract, and to the priests, our companions 
who live and who will live in the house at Ciorani, and who 
are engaged in the care of souls, with the obligation of saying 
those Masses, of performing the exercises on Saturdays in 
honor of the Madonna, or otherwise, according to the 
wishes of Don Andrea. Thus we must insist with prudence 
on the point that we ourselves have to plan this contract. 
As for Don Andrea, it will surely be sufficient for him if he 
has substantially all that he desired. Try then to see him 
immediately and to conclude the affair without delay, for 
Don Andrea is changeable. 

Preserve this letter, for it may be useful for the object 
that we have in view. In case Don Andrea wishes to 
make the contract at once, send us the paper that he has 
drawn up, and add to it a copy of the beginning of the 
document that concerns Caposele, for our Father wishes to 
ask more advice. But try your best to bring the matter to 
a speedy conclusion. Believe me, my dear Father, 

Your servant and brother, 

CELESTINO DE ROBERTIS, 
13 of the Most Holy Saviour. 



194 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 96. 
To the Priest D. Francesco Margotta, at Calitri. 

Solicitude of the saint in regard to the observance of the 
Rule. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NAPLES, February 7, 1748. 

My dear Francesco: I am still at Naples to finish the 
affairs of the Congregation, and I hope to finish them soon. 
However, it seems to me that a thousand years have still to 
elapse before matters can be concluded. We are all of us 
praying continually for you that you may soon come among 
us. 

The Archbishop [of Conza] was very much displeased 
with me since for what I believe to be very good reasons I 
did not allow Father Cafaro to preach the Lenten sermons 
at Calitri. Father Paolo [Cafaro] must during Lent direct 
the theological studies at Iliceto ; and this cannot be done 
except by him as he is the author of the text-book that is 
used. Father Cafaro will not therefore preach the Lenten 
sermons. Besides, as he has no Lenten sermons prepared 
it would be undertaking great and unnecessary labor since 
the preaching of Lenten sermons is foreign to our Institute. 
This last was my principal reason; for the preaching 
of Lenten sermons is an occupation altogether against our 
Rule; and if I permitted it on this occasion, I could no 
longer refuse the same thing to other bishops who have our 
houses in their dioceses. Moreover, the archbishop has 
promised, in a letter which is preserved, that he would 
treat us as other bishops do; and in the contract it is 
expressly mentioned that he is to employ us in accordance 
with our Rule. 

As for yourself, if you do not speak earnestly with the 
archbishop by telling him that you have been already 



Lettered. 195 

received, etc., you will never be able to tear yourself away. 
Represent to him that it is a matter of conscience with you 
in regard to your vocation. This is enough, for you are 
not wanting in judgment or prudence. After all, what 
must we do ? We must be patient ; perhaps our regret in 
not seeing you among us is greater than yours. 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ that I may soon be able 
to leave Naples. It seems to me that a thousand years are 
still to pass by before I finish with these blessed ministers 
who fill my heart with bitterness. If it were not for the 
Congregation I would have nothing to do with them. 

If the archbishop complains of me, he does so unjustly. 
I believe that up to the present I have served him as well as 
I could; and to oblige him I have even been unmindful 
whether or not I pleased other bishops. God knows what 
I was obliged to do in order to send him now the Fathers 
that are to give missions to his people and retreats to his 
clergy. And if he wishes that Father Fiocchi who has been 
sent to give a retreat to the priests, should stay, as I have 
heard, to preach the Lenten sermons I shall even then give 
my consent, although this Father is destined for Nocera 
where he is much needed and where the bishop is greatly 
dissatisfied. I really do not know what more to do to 
satisfy him. But to trample upon the Rules and Con 
stitutions in the very beginning, I cannot allow. When an 
occasion presents itself, communicate what I have written to 
the archbishop. I remain, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 



196 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 97. 

To the Priest Don Andrea Sarnelli. 

He gives his consent to the making of a new contract, but 
under certain conditions. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

NAPLES, February 10, 1748. 

My dear Don Andrea: I have already written two long 
letters to the Rector at Ciorani about the affair concerning 
which you wrote to me. Now I am answering your letter, 
and I say in substance that I am ready to do what 
you have written to me. I should however be pleased to 
have the contract renewed for the benefit of this house; 
because this new contract would now have to be drawn up 
in other words in order to render this foundation more firm. 
But at present I shall not write the words of the new contract. 
But when you have resolved to write it, it will be necessary 
for me to let you know everything. The contract will have 
to be worded as that one was worded for the founding 
of the house of Conza [at Caposele]. And if you are 
desirous of knowing its contents, I will make no difficulty 
in letting you know them. Let the Rector of Ciorani know 
your wish, for I have written to him all the particulars; 
let him see this letter, and he will tell you all. 

What before all I recommend to you is secrecy, so that 
your relatives may not learn of this affair, and may not 
involve us in a law-suit after the death of the Baron, 1 as has 
already been said by them. I have no fear of the Baron 
nor of Don Nicola, because both have always favored us, 
and both are inclined to piety. I am however afraid of Don 
Domenico who, I know not why, cannot bear to see us at 
Ciorani, and when near the Chinese College these or similar 
words were used by him : Only let my father die, and we 
shall see what will become of the Fathers at Ciorani. As 

1 The Baron Angelo Sarnelli, the father of Don Andrea. 



Letter 98. 197 

for the other brother Don Francesco, 1 I know not whether 
he inclines towards Don Nicola or Don Domenico, and for 
this reason I should not like that anything should be known 
by Don Domenico in regard to the new contract. 

This is sufficient. In regard to yourself I hope that there 
will be no difficulty (since you will have attained your end) 
in modifying the old contract, so that the house at Ciorani 
may be firmly established, and all danger of having law 
suits may be removed. 

I beg you to give me at once an answer for my own 
guidance, and I ask you not to change your mind in 
reference to what you have written to me. Recommend 
me to Jesus Christ. May the Blessed Sacrament and Mary 
Immaculate be praised ! I remain, 

Your very humble and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

IP. S.] My dear Don Andrea, excuse me for not answer 
ing your letter immediately, because I have been ill at 
Naples; it is now seven days that the weather has been 
very wet and I have been suffering from my chest. Re 
commend me to Jesus and Mary. 

After the original preserved in the archives of the Redemp- 
torist Fathers at Pagani. 

LETTER 98. 
To the King of Naples. 

Petition to have his permission for the legal existence 
of the four houses of the Institute. 

[February, 1748.] 

Sire: The priest Alfonso de Liguori, together with his 
companions, missionaries of the so-called Congregation of 

1 D. Nicola, D. Domenico and D. Ciccio (or Francesco) were 
brothers of D. Andrea. 

13* 



198 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

the Most Holy Saviour, humbly presents to your Majesty 
the following petition : Your Majesty not having thought it 
well to sanction with your royal permission the project 
of uniting their society to that of the priests of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Sacrament so as to form 
only one Congregation 1 the suppliants ask you, Sire, to 
deign at least to recognize their four houses (and only 
these) in order that your royal authority may serve as a 
support to another work founded in favor of the poor 
people in the country, as your Majesty well knows. These 
houses are situated in the dioceses of Salerno, Nocera, 
Bovino, and Conza. 

The undersigned declares that there is no desire of found 
ing more houses but only of seeing established those that 
exist. And as for the purchase of property for the main 
tenance of these houses and of the work of the missions, he 
is satisfied with what your Majesty may think fit to arrange ; 
provided he sees this holy work organized with the authority 
of your Majesty he will be satisfied with whatever is pre 
scribed ; because he does not wish that these houses should 
become rich, but only that they should have what is sufficient 
to maintain the work, for the propagation of God s glory 
and the profit of your Majesty s vassals. 

If ever it should happen (may God forbid!) that the 
subjects of this Congregation should become faithless to 
their Institute, and the work should fail, the petitioner in 
his own name and in that of his companions will be content, 
and they even pray your Majesty that the Sovereign Pontiff 
be requested, to disband and suppress not only one or the 
other of the houses but the entire Congregation. Hence 
forward, the petitioner, in the name of the members of the 

1 From this petition we may perceive that although the saint was 
altogether opposed to the union of his Congregation with that 
of Don Vincenzo Mannarini, yet the Grand Almoner had himself 
endeavored to bring about this union. 



1748.] Letter 99. 1 99 

whole Congregation, present and future, binds himself that 
they will not defend their conduct in any juridical way, but 
will submit in all things to whatever your Majesty shall see 
fit to arrange. The undersigned and all his companions 
desire nothing else than that this work may be pleasing to 
the zeal that inspires your Majesty for the good of the 
abandoned people in the country. The petitioner also 
hopes that in future this condition that is now made may 
also serve as a check on all the members of the Congregation 
and prevent them from being relaxed, and as an incentive 
to preserve the right spirit and continue the work as it has 
heretofore been carried on. If your Majesty deigns to 
favor this petition the undersigned will pray to God to 
reward you. May God grant that we receive this favor ! 

After a copy preserved in the archives of Father General 
at Rome. 

LETTER 99. 
To the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XIV. 

The saint asks him for the apostolic approbation of his 
Congregation. 

[March 30, 1748.] 

Most Holy Father: The priest Alfonso de Liguori, a 
Neapolitan, and with other missionaries, his companions, 
having become associated under the title of the Most 
Holy Saviour, humbly supplicates and exposes to your 
Holiness what follows: Having for many years been 
giving missions as a member of the Congregation of the 
Apostolic Missions, erected in the cathedral at Naples, the 
undersigned^ observed how greatly abandoned are the poor 
people, especially in the country, of the vast territories 
of the kingdom. Since the year 1732 he has associated 
himself with the said priests, as his companions, under the 
direction of the late Monsignor Falcoia, Bishop of Castel- 



2OO General Correspondence. [PART i. 

lammare, for the purpose of devoting himself to aid by 
missions, instructions and other exercises, the souls of the 
poor in the country, who are mostly destitute of spiritual 
help, since they are frequently in want of those that may 
administer to them the sacraments, and to preach to them 
the word of God. Indeed, many of them for want of laborers 
approach death without even knowing the necessary mys 
teries of the faith, since there are few priests that devote 
themselves earnestly to the religious education of the poor 
country people on account of the expenses and also on 
account of the inconveniences that they have to suffer from 
such a task. 

The undersigned have therefore since that time given 
assistance to the poor people by giving them missions, by 
going through the country visiting the most abandoned 
places of the six provinces of the kingdom. Their success 
was so great and universal that his Majesty, the king, 
having heard of it, and especially of the labors so profitable 
to a great number of shepherds in Puglia, deigned to make 
an annual appropriation for the maintenance of this holy 
work, recommending it as most useful for the general good 
of his kingdom. 

His Eminence, the Archbishop of Naples, who governs 
his church with so much zeal, has also deigned to call the 
petitioners to render him services, and they have done so 
by giving missions in many villages of his diocese. 

For this purpose, the petitioners, with the canonical 
approbation of the Ordinaries and also with the permission 
of the king, have united to live together in certain houses 
or secluded places, situated away from towns and villages 
in different parts of the kingdom. These houses are in the 
dioceses of Salerno, of Bovino, of Nocera, and finally, in 
the diocese of Conza, in which with the apostolic consent 
of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars there 
has been ceded to the petitioners the church of S. Maria 



1748.] Letter 99. 201 

Mater Domini with the adjacent house, together with an 
income derived from a benefice given them by the clergy 
of Caposele, and other kinds of income assigned by certain 
benefactors, especially by the archbishop of the said diocese. 
Besides the missions to which the missionaries are constantly 
devoting themselves, there are given in these houses op 
portunities for the people who have had missions, to visit 
the missionaries so as to renew their confessions and becb me 
re-established by means of sermons. Moreover, in these 
houses are given more than once a year private spiritual 
exercises to the candidates for ordination, to the pastors 
and priests sent by their bishops, as well as to seculars. 
This has been a source of great profit both to themselves 
and to others, since by such exercises the priests come 
forth reformed , and are made worthy members of the 
sanctuary, to the benefit of their flocks. And all this work 
is continued, and is always increasing the concourse of the 
people and conferring spiritual benefits upon them. 

The Lord has then greatly blessed this work, not only 
by the conversion of many abandoned souls and to the 
profit of the country places where the petitioners have been 
laboring, but also by an increase of subjects who have 
joined this Congregation, so that they number about forty 
members. 

Most Holy Father, this is the state of the above-mentioned 
work. But if your Holines does not vouchsafe to grant the 
apostolic approbation, the work will not continue to meet 
with success. Prostrate, therefore, at the feet of your 
Holiness, the petitioner and his companions beseech you, 
by the love that your Holiness entertains for the glory 
of Jesus Christ and for the salvation of so many poor 
country people, who are the most abandoned children 
of the Church of God, to grant your apostolic consent, that 
the aforesaid members may constitute themselves a Con 
gregation of secular priests, under the title of the Most 



2O2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Holy Saviour. The Congregation would always be subject 
to the jurisdiction of the Ordinaries of the places, ad instar 
[like] the Congregation of Fathers of the Missions and 
of the Fathers called Pious Workers, with this difference 
that the members of the Congregation must always live 
outside of inhabited places, and in the centre of the most 
needy dioceses, so that they may be better able to devote 
themselves to the care of country people, and to be also 
more ready to give them assistance. May your Holiness 
also deign to approve the Rules that will in time be placed 
at your Holiness s feet. We hope that your Holiness, who has 
so much zeal for the salvation of souls, especially for the 
souls of poor country people (as has been proved by your 
Holiness s letter sent to the bishops of the kingdom of Naples 
that they should give all possible spiritual aid to the people 
by means of holy missions), may vouchsafe to establish by 
your supreme authority a work not only useful but also 
necessary for the many poor souls in the rural districts 
of this vast kingdom, who are living destitute of all spiritual 
help. For this favor they will pray to God to reward your 
Holiness. 

After the original preserved in the archives of the Sacred 
Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. 

LETTER 100. 
To a Priest. 

He gives him some salutary advice. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

CIORANI, April 26, 1748. 

I received your letter, and I read your reasons which 
convince me that by your resignation you would derive 
greater quiet, but not the greater glory of God and the 
greater profit of souls. You flee from one cross, but 



1748.] Letter 101. 203 

you will find that you must carry another. I think that 
you should withdraw and make privately the spiritual 
exercises, in order that the Lord may help you to decide 
what will be for his greater glory. At this house at Ciorani 
the exercises will begin on the 2yth of next May ; hence 
if you wish to make them here, you are now informed 
of the time when they begin. I recommend myself to 
your prayers. Praised be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament 
and Mary Immaculate! I remain, 

Your very devoted and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 101. 
To a Father of the Society of Jesus. 

Affection and veneration of the saint for the Society. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NoCERA, May 31, 1748. 

I received your much prized letter together with the 
pious and magnificent present. I have been much confused 
thereby, and with sentiments of confusion I thank you most 
cordially for it. As a sign of my gratitude and of the 
affection that I bear towards the Society of Jesus and 
towards every one of the Reverend Fathers, I beg you to 
accept a few small books of devotion, together with some 
pictures which we have had engraved. I also send you 
the Pratica del confessore 1 [Practice of the Confessor] 

1 The full title of the Italian work is: "Pratica del confessore per 
ben esercitare il suo ministero." The large work of Moral Theol 
ogy of which St. Alphonsus speaks had been published some months 
before under the title: " Medulla Theologioe moralis R. P. Hermanii 
Busenbaum S. J. cum adnotationibus per R. P. D. Alphonsum de 
Ligorio . . . adjunct is." (i vol. in 4.) 



204 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

which I lately published, and which in substance is a 
compendium of the large work on Moral Theology which 
preceded it. I beg your Reverence to accept it in the 
right spirit. 

News about the Society I have not yet received, because 
Father Centola scarcely left the box when he continued his 
journey, and I did not see him; but I shall meet him at 
Salerno on Friday. I am as anxious about this news as 
if it concerned our own Congregation, since there is question 
of an Order that has, one may say, sanctified and continues 
to sanctify the world. Above all do I thank you for the 
cordiality with which your Reverence writes to me ; and I 
beg you therefore to recommend me most earnestly in your 
holy Mass to Jesus Christ, at least for three days. Humbly 
kissing your hand, I remain most respectfully. . . 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 102. 

To the Bishop of Avellino and Frigenti, Mgr. Felice Leoni. 1 
Request for a favor relative to ordination. 

May Jesus and Mary be our life ! 

CIORANI, August 25, 1748. 

Your Lordship has had the kindness to promise the 
deacon Salvatore Gallo, your subject and a member of our 
Congregation, the favor of promoting him to the priesthood 
at the coming ordination in September. I send therefore a 
Father, the bearer of this, to receive the favorable rescript 
and also to render many thanks to your Lordship for the 
very great favor that has been conferred. Encouraged by 
such extreme kindness, I make bold to ask you to deign to 
grant to this our Congregation the favors which many 
1 Mgr. Felice Leoni, an Augustinian, was born at Giovenazzo, 
July 14, 1677 ; was consecrated bishop, September 26, 1735, and 
died in 1754. 



1748.] Letter 103. 205 

bishops, and especially the Archbishops of Salerno and 
Conza, as also the Bishops of Bovino and Nocera (in whose 
dioceses our houses are situated) have bestowed on similar 
occasions when an ordination of our subjects was to take 
place, namely, to refer to the Rectors of the said houses, 
or to me who unworthily hold the office of Rector Major, 
the examination of these candidates. So particular a favor 
will be a special proof of the most courteous love and 
affection that you bear towards our Institute. It will be for 
me and for the whole Congregation a motive for placing 
ourselves under a lasting obligation to you, and will be an 
incentive to retain continually a memory of it in our poor 
prayers to the Almighty for the preservation and happiness 
of your Lordship, of whom I remain, 

Your most humble and devoted servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour, 

Rector Major. 

After the original, the property of the Orlando family at 
Torre Annunziata. 

LETTER 103. 
To Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli, Archbishop of Naples. 

Notes written by the saint to the aforesaid Cardinal who 
was to draw up the report requested of him by the Sacred 
Congregation of Bishops and Regulars for the approbation 
of the Institute. 1 

[September, 1748.] 

It will be a matter of surprise when it is made known that 
after so many Orders, Congregations and Institutes have been 

1 The Cardinal intrusted the examination of the Rule of the new 
Institute to his auditor the abbate Blaschi, and on the nth of 
October he sent to the Sacred Congregation a report favorable to the 
approbation, using nearly the same words that the saint used in his 
notes. 



206 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

founded in the Church, the approbation as well as the 
confirmation of this new Institute is asked of the Holy See ; 
for some say that it would be better to dissolve or reform 
the old Institutes rather than institute new ones. But the 
surprise will cease when people understand the end and aim 
of the Institute and the blessings with which the Lord has 
favored it. Moreover, it must be remarked that all the 
Institutes established during several centuries have met 
with the same opposition. Thus were opposed the Thea- 
tines, the Jesuits, the so-called Congregation of the Mother 
of God, the Pious Workers. Nevertheless the Holy See 
inspired by the Holy Ghost did not hesitate to approve 
them, and experience has shown of what great profit each 
one of these new Institutes has been to the Church of God. 

But all these Institutes, it is said, began with great fervor, 
and then became relaxed. This will be the case with the 
new Institute. 

In answer to this we say that in many Institutes fervor 
has been and is maintained ; and although it is not the same 
as that with which the first members began, yet it is such as 
has heretofore been of great advantage to God s Church, as 
well on account of the examples of regular observance as on 
account of the works that have been done for the good 
of their fellow-men. 

Then it is said that it is impossible to expect human 
nature to change ; according to the present condition of men 
they begin with great fervor, but afterwards they grow 
cold. The farther water is removed from its source, the 
less limpid and the more turbid it becomes. But we see 
that God, who loves his glory above all things, and certainly 
was the author of so many Institutes which have been 
founded, has thought it well to govern his Church in such a 
manner that from time to time new Institutes should be 
established, not only that the garment of his Spouse might 
be adorned with various colors, but that, should the fervor 



1748.] Letter zoj. 207 

of the ancient Institutes fail, it might be supplied by the 
fervor of new ones, which usually begin in this way. This 
fervor generally speaking endures for many centuries to the 
immense profit as well of the members of the Institute as 
of the people. If in a vineyard new plants are not substituted 
for the old ones, what will happen ? The old ones dry up, 
and if new ones are wanting, the vineyard will come to an 
end. 

But now, some say, so many Orders, so many Con 
gregations have sprung up that finally they will become 
more than enough for the religious education of the people. 

O would to God that these were enough ! Messis quidem 
mulla ! [The harvest is great.] Whoever is somewhat 
familiar with the care of souls knows how scarce is the 
number of laborers who truly seek the salvation of souls, 
and he also knows how many souls are lost for want 
of spiritual aid. And it is certain for several reasons which 
any one may find by himself here, that this is the case 
especially in rural districts. 

To this end so many zealous priests have sought to 
engage in giving missions, which if useful in cities are 
altogether necessary in country places ; since in these latter 
there is for the most part a want of good priests who break 
to these unlettered people the divine Word, and give them 
the needful instructions. Besides, the missionaries are 
necessary in these rural places for the reason that there are 
few priests there, and these are natives of the country; 
hence many souls make sacrilegious confessions on account 
of the repugnance that they feel in confessing to one who 
knows them . It, therefore, happens that if these souls 
who have thus fallen into sin have not the convenience of a 
mission, so as to be able to manifest their consciences to 
strange priests, it may be said with moral certainty that 
they will continue to live in disgrace with God, and will 
surely be damned. Experience has proved that the greatest 



208 General Correspondence. FPARTI. 

benefits are derived by souls from the missions which, as has 
been seen, have sanctified the entire population. 

But would to God that the fruits of the missions were 
lasting ! There would not be seen this corruption of morals 
as is seen even after the missions, and few souls would be 
lost. But the misfortune is that after some time the people 
grow cold and return to a still worse state on account of the 
light that they received during the missions. 

Now, it is the aim of our most humble Institute to make 
permanent the fruits that have been gathered on the missions. 
For this purpose it is required by its Rule that the houses 
be located in the centre of dioceses so that the poor people 
may not only visit them in order to be helped in their 
spiritual wants, but may be otherwise aided by instructions, 
novenas and other exercises which the Fathers give, now in 
one place, now in another of the dioceses in which they 
live; and thus the fruit that has been derived from the 
missions is seen to continue among the people. 

Such aid is of the greatest consolation to the people^ 
because when in the small country places there is a scarcity 
of confessors, and in many districts scarcely a parish priest, 
it happens that very many hardly ever receive the sacra 
ments; or if they go to confession, many through shame 
and repugnance make sacrilegious confessions. Confessors 
who go about know what comfort this help is, and how 
much the people are thereby consoled. 

And in order that the subjects of this Congregation may 
be entirely free from all the cares in which are usually involved 
those laborers that live in inhabited places, it has been 
established that their residence should be outside of inhabited 
places in order to attend better to the spiritual care of the 
country people. 

This Congregation, therefore, performs a work that is for 
the benefit of the people in the country, which is performed 
by no other Congregation of missionaries ; hence it is hoped 



1748.] Letter 104. 209 

that the approbation and confirmation of it may be ob 
tained. 

The aim and purpose of the Institute is to form a Con 
gregation, under the title of the Most Holy Saviour, of 
secular priests, living in common, subject to the jurisdiction 
of the Ordinaries of the places, ad instar [similar] to the 
Congregation of the Fathers of the Mission and of the 
Pious Workers , with this distinction, however, that its 
members are to live in the centre of the most needy 
dioceses, and outside of the inhabited places, in order that 
they may the better devote themselves to the abandoned 
people of the country, and be more prepared to offer them 
assistance by missions, instructions and the administration 
of the sacraments. 

They observe moreover the following twelve rules 



After the original preserved in the archives of the house at 
Pagani. 

LETTER 104. 
To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce. 

Obligation of a religious to sustain observance, especially 
in regard to the admission of novices. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, September 15, [1748]. 

I have just received your long letter. You have done 
well to maintain the observance of the monastery in regard 
to the first point as well as the second about which you 
have written to me. We must prefer the common good 
of the monastery to every private good; otherwise the 
monastery would become an abode of worldly-minded 
women, instead of being a sacred asylum of spouses of Jesus 
Christ. In this matter be firm, and do not yield. 

Omit one of your ordinary Communions as a penance for 
14 



2io General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

the weakness you have shown in the last case by giving 
your vote out of compassion. In future do not commit 
the same fault; otherwise I shall have to command you 
to abstain from Communion for a whole month without 
speaking of the scruple of which you would have to purify 
your conscience by confession. Certainly, we should be 
very scrupulous in admitting to the monastery a person 
who has not given signs that she has really entered it in 
order to serve God. In this manner the convents are 
ruined through the fault of those that give their votes 
through human respect. In future, therefore, be firm, and 
encourage your companions to show the same firmness; 
they will thereby acquire great merit with Jesus Christ; 
above all, if on this account they have to suffer persecution : 
Beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter justitiam. [Bles 
sed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake. Matt. 
v. 10.] Always act ,thus, enduring persecutions with joy, 
without being disturbed ; and answer that you act thus not 
out of passion, but because you think that you should 
commit a sin if you acted otherwise; and say nothing 
more. 

Recommend me to Jesus and to Mary. I am, etc. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Pray every day to the Blessed Virgin in behalf of our 
affairs; for just now the question of our approbation is 
before the authorities at Rome. This I enjoin upon you as 
a matter of obedience. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Your Father and servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After the original in possession of Chevalier Felice Toraldo, 
son of the late Horace Toraldo, at Tropea. 



i 74 8.] Letter 105. 2 1 1 

LETTER 105. 
To a Superior of his Congregation. 

Two important regulations ; one in regard to the health 
of the subjects, the other about the protection of their 
vocation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, December 26, [1748]. 

my God! how dreadful was yesterday s weather for 
travelling! I was at the altar; but you might have said one 
word to let me know that it was raining, and I would not have 
let you go. This inordinate eagerness for missions does 
not please me. When afterwards a subject becomes sick, 
the evil would be greater than if we had omitted giving ten 
missions. 

Henceforward, for the rest of my life, I establish a general 
rule, that you shall read to all those that are with you, and 
which you shall afterwards communicate to the Rector 
of Caposele and to all the rest; for I recollect the great 
haste that was exhibited at the departure from Cirignola. 1 

1 declare then that it is my express wish, which must not 
be interpreted, that no one, at least of the chorists, should 

1 This great haste on the journey from Cirignola to Santa Agata 
della Puglia was shown by Fathers Sportelli, Villani, Cafaro and six 
others, in the month of January, 1746. We subjoin the account 
given by Father Sportelli to Father Mazzini : "January 22, we set 
out in a heavy rain, which lasted the whole day, and so we reached 
Ascoli thoroughly drenched. A room was given to us containing two 
beds ; there nine of us were obliged to find accommodations as best we 
could. When morning dawned, we set out for Ascoli, still thoroughly 
wet, and the day was so cold that our clothing froze upon our 
bodies. We were in great haste, for our Father had told us to begin 
the mission on Sunday the 23d; however, we found him at Santa 
Agata and learned that he had opened the mission on Saturday, 22, 
and had preached on Sunday. As his breast began to give him great 
trouble, I had to continue the mission." 



2 1 2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

ever set out in the rain, unless it be in summer time, or the 
journey be a short one, or when some extraordinary emer 
gency arises. I mention these exceptions for the greater 
tranquillity of the Superiors. Hence I wish that no chorist 
shall ever set out on a journey in the rain, even though 
there were question of giving a mission at Paris. Preserve 
this letter so that you may remember this rule. 

Another thing to which I intend never to give my consent 
is that permission be given to the Fathers or to the Brothers 
to visit their families because a relative is either sick or 
dying. This is permitted only when the father or the 
mother is seriously ill ; and in this case I should be better 
satisfied if even then one did not go there. I also except 
any very extraordinary case, in regard to which I leave it 
to the Superiors to decide. 

The first of these measures aims at preventing the health 
of the subjects from being endangered ; the second, at 
preventing the loss of vocation and of the salvation of the 
soul. 

Also in respect to any other case than sickness, I leave it 
to the Superiors to examine whether the case is extra 
ordinary, or whether there is question about the wants or 
the affairs of the Congregation. 

I send you again twenty car/mi 1 to help you. After the 
mission of St. Michael send Father Criscuoli to this place. 
Live Jesus and Mary ! 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Saviour. 

After an old copy. 

l Twenty carlini are equal to 8 fr. 50 centimes ; a carlino, being 
equal to 7 cents of our money. 



I749-] Letter 106. 2 1 3 

LETTER I06. 

To Signer D. Pompeo Scibelli, at Leoni. 
He asks him to do him a service. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, February 15, 1749. 

My dear Don Pompeo : Please have the enclosed letters 
forwarded to their destination. 

As to the young man, 1 I have already written that, since 
the Bishop [di S. Angelo de Lombardi] does not wish to 
register his patrimonial title in the episcopal chancery before 
his ordination, you may send him to us. But as I have 
said, you should at least examine his patrimony and his 
papers, so that I may be assured that there is no mistake in 
regard to this matter. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your Reverence already knows that we have received the 
Pontifical approbation; 2 thank Jesus Christ for us. Live 
Jesus ! 

Your very devoted and grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

1 This young man was D. Giovanni Tommaso Nittoli, of the 
village of Leoni. Admitted into the novitiate, April 6, 1749, he 
made his profession, March 28, 1750, and after a .holy life died 
on Holy Thursday, in 1785. Many favors are said to have been 
obtained through his intercession. 

2 It was on January 28, 1749, tnat Father Villani who was at Rome 
informed the saint of the Pontifical approbation of the Congregation, 
which was thenceforth called Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
The Brief of approbation : Ad Pastoralis dignitatis fastigium was 
promulgated February 25. 



14* 



214 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 107. 

To D.Giuseppe Muscari, Prior of the Monastery of St. Basil 
at Rome. 

Various communications relative to the affair of the ap 
probation and of privileges. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORAM, March 20, 1749. 

Last evening I received your very kind favor in which 
you inform me that Father Villani set out for Loreto 1 on 
the yth ; by this time I think he has already reached the 
place. In regard to the faculties of the Penitentiary, I have 
written to him several times that he should use greater 
despatch so that the whole Congregation may receive them. 
How astonishing ! By the grace of Jesus Christ we have 
received the approbation; a favor so immense that I can 
hardly believe that it is so ; and then a matter that is as easy 
as the obtaining for the missions the faculties which are 
possessed by so many Congregations , the Congregation 
of the priests of the archdiocese, the Congregation of S. 
Pietro at Cesarano, which- are few and not approved; 
- these faculties I say which I believed could certainly be 
obtained, we should not be able to obtain ! 

As for the attestation, Don Andrea did not write to me 
that he wished the attestation of the Ordinary ; he told me 
that the attestation was necessary, or that I might give him 
leave to speak. And I have sent it to him. 

Now from your letter I learn that the attestation of the 
Ordinary is required ; I have, therefore, written to Salerno, 
and when the attestation arrives, I will send it to your 
Reverence, or to another whom you may mention ; because 

1 After receiving the Pontifical approbation Father Villani and 
Brother Francesco Tartaglione made a pilgrimage to Loreto to thank 
our Blessed Lady. 



I749-] Letter 107. 2 1 5 

after Father Villani has come from Loreto, it seems to me that 
he will be able to return to the kingdom, so long as he has not 
on his hands any other important matter about the settlement 
of which I shall look to him. 

I have also written, and I do so again, that he should 
not fail to procure for us the favor of the privileged 
altar. As to other privileges, there is no more need 
of speaking of them at present. It is certain that it has 
been an important matter to obtain the approbation for 
which, as we know, your Reverence has done so much. 
May God reward you for what you have done; and for 
which I give you a thousand thanks. As for that affair, l 
we shall not omit to pray to the Blessed Virgin. I also 
thank you for the trouble, which you took in superintending 
the printing of the Rule. 2 As I have already decided and 
written to Father Villani in my last letters, this Rule I 
shall have carefully printed at Naples in small form. If Father 
Villani should be obliged to defer his return among us, you 
might send one of the Briefs with the Rule. 

I do not now write to-day a special letter to Father Villani, 
because your Reverence may allow him to see this letter; 
and as for other things he will find them written in my 
other letters that I have sent by post. 

Tell him that I have received ten ducats from P. D. 
Lorenzo d Antonio for that transaction of which he knows ; 
if he wishes me to send them by a bill of exchange, I shall 
do so. 

In regard to the Office of the Most Holy Redeemer 3 
there is question, I hope, of the Office with the octave. But 

1 This affair was the proposition of Father Muscari to enter the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

2 Father Muscari had been charged to attend to the printing of the 
Rule, approved by the Holy See. 

3 The Congregation by the change of its name obtained the favor 
of reciting the Office of the Most Holy Redeemer, such as was 
already recited at Venice. 



216 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

I do not see what would have to be suppressed and what 
would be proper for Venice ; for we have examined it, and 
it contains nothing that might not suit for all places. For 
the rest I shall acquiesce in what is right. 

Recommend me to Jesus and Mary, as we all do not fail 
to do for you. May Mary the Most Blessed Virgin obtain 
for us this favor. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! I 
bless the journey made by Father Andrea and Brother 
Francesco to Loreto; I bless their journey home. Tell 
Father Villani that when he arrives at Naples he should go 
to the house of Don Giovanni Olivieri; he lives in the 
street of the Monastery of the Madonna, a little beyond the 
convent, opposite to the parlor, at the portico that is 
always closed. There he will find a letter from me, 
which will tell him what he has to do at Naples before 
returning here, that is, he is to make a visit to Marquis 
Brancone and to the Grand Almoner. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble and devoted servant, 
ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the oratory of the Arch- 
confraternity of our Lady of Mercy and of St. Alfonso de 
Liguori, at Naples. 

LETTER 108. 

To the Same. 

He accepts his religious profession. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I the undersigned, Rector Major of the Congregation 
of the Most Holy Redeemer, accept the oblation and the 
oath, made by the Very Reverend Father Abbate Don 
Giuseppe Muscari, of the Order of St. Basil, of persevering 
in our Congregation by virtue of the permission obtained 



I749-] Letter 109. 2 1 7 

by him from His Holiness our reigning Pontiff Benedict 
XIV., so that he may pass from his Order to the said 
Congregation. And by the power that I possess, as 
Rector Major of said Congregation, I dispense the same 
from the year s novitiate, and I now receive him as a 
member 1 of our house of St. Michael at Nocera di Pagani 
this (the date is wanting). 

DON ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer, 

Rector Major. 

After the original in possession of Abbe* Depotter, professor 
at St. Omer, France. 

LETTER 109. 
To the Same. 

He charges him with a commission. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, May 28, [1749]. 

I have already written to you in another letter about 
Father Bianchi s work against Giannone. 2 You willl find 
Brother Francesco opposite the church of the Annunziata 
of Aversa. 3 But if perchance you do not find him, as you 

1 In consequence of this acceptance Father Muscari made his 
profession at Rome, June i, 1749, in the church of the Most Holy 
Trinity, in the presence of two notaries. Cardinal Domenico 
Orsini, representing on this occasion the person of St. Alphonsus, 
received by proxy the vows of the newly professed. 

2 This work of Father Giovanni Antonio Bianchi of the Minor 
Conventuals of St. Francis, was published at Rome (1745 1751) under 
the title : " Delia potesta e polizia della Chiesa, trattati due contro 
le nuove opinioni di Pietro Giannone." (Of the power and govern 
ment of the Church, in two treatises directed against the new 
opinions of Pietro Giannone.) 

3 As Father Muscari was to pass through Naples to go first to S. 
Eufemia, his native place, and then to Ciorani, he was to take the 
aforesaid work to Brother Francesco, who then lived at Naples in a 
house belonging to the Congregation. 



218 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

will perhaps travel at night, leave the book with the priest 
Don Francesco Romano, confessor of the Annunziata of 
that city, and tell him that Brother Francesco Tartaglione 
will call for it, and that he should not give it to any one 
else. 

Remember that we are ardently looking for you. I 
embrace Don Giuseppe Rosa. 1 I hope that now by your 
religious profession you are entirely ours. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved at Cotrone in possession of 
Canon Filippo Messina, Prothonotary apostolic. 

LETTER I IO. 

To Father Francesco Marietta, Rector of the House 
at Caposele. 

The saint expresses his regard for the Archbishop of Conza. 
Various affairs. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CARIFI, November 13, [1749.] 

I received the letter of Brother Gennaro [Rendina] 
containing the news. I am happy to hear of the success 
of the mission. Gloria Patri! 

What is to be done about the mission of Caposele? 
Have patience; give the mission in order to please Mon- 
signor, whose hand you will please kiss for me. Let 
Fathers Villani and Cafaro remain to give the mission; 

1 Don Giuseppe de Rosa, a native of Nocera de Pagani, was at 
that time studying theology at Rome ; and as he was under the 
direction of Father Muscari, also conceived the desire of entering 
the new Congregation. St. Alphonsus received him, but the young 
priest remained only a few months in the novitiate. In 1775 ne 
became Bishop of Policastro. 



I749-] Letter no. 219 

afterwards they are to set out for this place. It will be 
necessary to send Father Robertis to Sieti, where a mission 
is to be opened next Sunday the 1 5th ; otherwise, I will 
have to leave the place ; for God knows what complaints his 
sisters would make. 1 

Here is Father Villani writing me for another mission to 
be given at Conza. What is to be done in the end? 
If Monsignor really desires the same for Conza as for 
Caposele, I shall be well satisfied. Tell him that I cannot 
say no to his wishes. I had already marked out a great 
number of missions ; but on account of the great love we 
have for him I will postpone them. 

We shall give here the exercises to the candidates for 
ordination. It is necessary for you to go to the mission 
of Sarno, which is to begin the day after Christmas. 

Let Fathers Villani and Cafaro go to Conza and Caposele ; 
if you need the assistance of another Father, let me know 
immediately. But if you can do without him, so much the 
better. In this case, let me know this in time. 

I am delighted to hear about [Fr. Don Gerardo] Grassi ; 
let him write to me immediately. Please see whether [Fr. 
Pasquale] Amendolara cannot receive subdeaconship. Tell 
Monsignor that I take the ordination upon my conscience ; 
meanwhile I am making Amendolara study diligently, and 
am very watchful. Let him be without fear; if this subject 
were not capable, I myself would feel a scruple in thus 
advancing him. 

I am giving a little mission at Carifi; I shall have to 
leave the place Saturday, for I have to set out for Cava 
where a novena is to be held in honor of Our Lady of the 
Elm; the picture is to be exposed in order to stop 
the ravages of the pest prevalent among the cattle at 
present. 

1 Father Robertis was a native of Sieti, where his sisters were 
living at the time. 



220 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

I have just received an excellent priest of Ischia j 1 he is a 
good confessor, a good preacher and an excellent scholar. 
He is about forty years of age ; he will be a good sub 
ject, for he has the reputation of a saint. He has left us 
to settle his domestic affairs ; he will return within a month. 
Two others have come from Ischia ; one of them is in his 
twenty-fourth year. I have not even examined them, for 
they seem to me to be in poor health. Later on we shall 
see. I embrace and bless all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

Your very affectionate Father and confrere, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the parish church of Curti 
Giffoni, in the diocese of Salerno. 

LETTER III. 
To the Same. 

He congratulates Father Margotta on the success of certain 
apostolic labors. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CAVA, November 19, [1749]. 

I am here at Cava, crippled though I am, giving a 
novena in honor of our Lady to implore the cessation of the 
plague. The place is crowded and I shall likely remain 
eight days longer to give the exercises to the monastery 
of S. Giovanni. 

I received from the archbishop a most courteous letter, 
which I shall answer. Gloria Patri for your success, 
for the good will of Monsignor, for the hundred ducats, 
for Grassi , for Amendolara , and for everything else. 2 
Digitus Dei est hie. [The finger of God is here.] Father 

1 Father D. Francesco Buonomano. 

2 On seeing the good effected by the missions, Mgr. Giuseppe 



I749-] Letter in. 221 

Villani writes to me that Monsignor has given the faculties 
for all the Fathers that go to Caposele ; but he does not say 
for what purpose they are given. I allow you to give 
those missions up to Christmas ; for the day after the feast 
the mission of Sarno must be given. 

I have settled matters with Father Garzilli ; I expect him 
to go to Foggia to have an interview with Fazzioli. If 
Fazzioli wishes us to take the schools, we must answer that 
it is impossible. 

As for [Don Gerardo] Grassi, let us wait for the Brief; 
as for Amendolara, let us wait till Lent. 

1 am expecting the young candidate from Calitri. 

As for the others, tell them I will not receive them 
without the consent of the archbishop ; hence after testing 
their vocation, let them obtain his consent. 

Affairs are going on well at Nocera. 

With regard to -the mission of Melfi, I understand that 
[Vincenzo] Mannarini s subjects 1 are to give it. Write me 
what you know about this affair. I embrace and bless you 
all in Jesus and Mary. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in our convent at Leoben, 
diocese of Seckau, in Austria. 

Nicolai became more and more a friend of the Institute of St. 
Alphonsus ; and although he had already given large subsidies for 
beginning the foundation of the convent at Caposele, he yet gave 
this year one hundred ducats more for the enlargement of the house, 
and he kindly consented to ordain Gerardo Grassi and Pasquale 
Amendolara, both natives of the diocese of Conza. 

1 The Fathers of the Congregation of the Most Holy Sacrament. 



222 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 



LETTER 112. 
To the Same. 

He gives Father Margotta various orders with regard to 
the sale of his books ; he speaks of the reception of novices 
and of the new building at Caposele. 

[End of January, 1750.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I was under the impression that the books a had been 
delivered at Conza two months ago, and now I hear that 
not a single book has been sent thither ; hence it is necessary 
for you to send them immediately together with the other 
works that were asked for ; write at the same time to the 
archpriests to tell them that they can obtain a copy of my 
book at the price of a certain number of Masses; the 
moment is favorable ; for in a short time I shall have no 
more Masses. Have patience; be kind enough to do me 
this favor. 

Now, as for the young men, speak frankly to them ; tell 
them that the Consultors here wish to examine them and 
more rigorously than heretofore; if they do not stand the 
examination, they have to return whence they came. In 
the case of that boy who has not attained the required age, 
I am satisfied [here a few words are missing] with the ten 
ducats which will be better for him to leave here. The 
other young man, the notary s son, can also come. It is 
necessary that they have their patrimony accepted and 
registered at the episcopal chancery ; otherwise what happened 
to de Angelis, 2 may also happen to them ; difficulties now 
arise about his patrimony, and he cannot make his pro 
fession. 

1 The books here mentioned were copies of the saint s Moral 
Theology, which priests might receive by saying some Masses to the 
intention of the saint. 

2 D. Nicodemo de Angelis of the diocese of Benevento. 



1750.] Letter 112. 223 

To please Monsignor, tell him I will send the Fathers to 
give the mission at Auletta, 1 the first week of Lent; they 
will, I think, set out on Wednesday from Salerno in a 
coach which goes to these suburban places, to Selvitella, or 
Buccino, or Auletta. Six Fathers will be sufficient. As it 
will be necessary for me to send Fathers from this place, I 
shall send Fathers de Robertis, Scibelli and Giovenale. 

Oh, what difficulties surround me! Mgr. di S. Angelo 
wishes Father Cafaro to give the exercises to his clergy; 
and Mgr. di Nocera would like to have two missions during 
Lent. May the Madonna come to our assistance ! Spiritual 
exercises at Ciorani and spiritual exercises at Iliceto ! The 
Fathers are nearly exhausted. 

If you should have no means of communicating with the 
nephew of the archpriest of Muro, have patience! Poor 
young man ! I pity him sincerely. He wrote me a letter 
expressing his ardent desire to come to us. I am told that 
he is an angel, and moreover a very bright and able youth; 
but his parents are opposed to the step he wishes to take. 
Well, see whether we cannot help him in some way. 

We are expecting Don Benedetto f we are praying for 
him. 

Your Reverence will please see that the building be 
completed for this summer, so that it may be occupied in 
September; and for this purpose I beg you to purchase 
sufficient lumber and all the required material. Lime you 
have already. Do not forget what I say. It appears to me 
that a thousand years are yet to pass before I shall see the 
house ready and the exercises given. When I visit you 
after leaving Melfi, I hope I shall find everything in good 
order. 

I am somewhat troubled about the Masses that are in 

1 Auletta, in the diocese of Conza. 

2 D. Benedetto Grazioli, a great friend and benefactor of the 
Congregation. 



224 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

arrears. I beg you to settle the matter quickly with the 
priests of Caposele, Calitri, Teora, or elsewhere. Tell 
them to say a hundred or at least sixty-two Masses ac 
cording to my intention, during the month of February. 
Please do me this favor to relieve me of my scruples ; let 
me know how you have settled the matter. 

If you receive their promise to say the Masses during the 
whole month of February for the eight or nine books, you 
need not trouble yourself about the other matter. 

Ask permission of the archbishop to give the mission at 
Melfi ; I wish to have you with me on that mission which I shall 
open the Sunday after Easter. Do not forget poor Amen- 
dolara. 1 I embrace and bless you. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

Send me the books immediately, and let me know. I 
have already made the intentions with regard to the books 
marked below. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very affectionate Father, 
ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer, 

Rector Major. 

From the original in possession of Canon Francesco Saverio 
Martini, Vicar-General of Alatri. 

LETTER 113. 
To the Same. 

He tells him to remain more at home, and to moderate his 
mortifications. Details relative to novices. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[CiORANl], January 23, 1750. 

I have received the last letter that you wrote me from 
Atella. 2 I have felt some displeasure in hearing that you 

1 Pasquale Amendolara was a young student for whom Father 
Margotta was to obtain a letter dimissory from the archbishop. 

2 Father Margotta was giving a mission at Atella, a town in the 
diocese of Melfi. 



Letter 113. 225 

are still in this place. A sojourn so prolonged outside 
of the house annoys me. Remember that you are now 
Rector. In future, endeavor to keep yourself free from 
similar embarrassments. I have already answered the Bishop 
[of Melfi] that in regard to the exercises to be given at 
Melfi, such a thing is not possible at present. When the 
Rector is absent from home all things go wrong. Resolve 
in future to stay at home as much as possible except when 
one or the other mission is to be given, or there is some 
real necessity. 

I imagine that on his part the Archbishop [di Conza] is 
complaining that I am sending you hither and thither. 
This would be very disagreeable to me if it were the 
case. 

I hear besides that your health is shattered. For mercy s 
sake, take care of it; retrench all those mortifications in 
eating, etc. Now it will be better for you to practise 
obedience. 

You have embarrassed me by that other mission at 
Auletta. The Fathers are exhausted. In short, on the 
return of Father N. for Lent, we shall speak to him about 
it, and make arrangements. In future dispose things in 
such a way that you may avoid giving missions in Lent. 

Father Villani has written to you about Frater Amendolara ; 
I also recommend him to you myself. Make out the memorial 
as regards the requisite qualifications, and endeavor to spare 
him a journey for the examination. Assure the archbishop 
on my conscience that he is a capable subject. I have 
always directed his studies ; he is capable of being not only 
subdeacon but priest. 

I also recommend to you to write to N. You un 
doubtedly know that he wished to return, and was only 
awaiting my consent. I have written to him to come to 
me, since his conscience was at rest in regard to the wants 
of his family; but I have not as yet seen him. Perhaps 
15 



226 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

my letter may not have reached him ; write him again the 
same thing in my name. 

what a trouble to me is the mission that is to be given 
at Auletta ; so much expense, and so much fatigue for the 
Fathers at this time, and with such roads ! why ? for the 
sake of a mission. Think at all events of the means 
of conveyance, since at least six missionaries will be needed. 

The son of N. has again been examined, and in the same 
way has been found incompetent; besides to judge him 
by what he says, I should think that he has no vocation. 
He has also not yet reached the proper age, and his father 
is inclined to do but little for him ; this would be at least a 
pretext for dismissing him. 

As for the other young man, 1 I adhere to what I have 
written you. Let his uncle at least contribute as soon as 
possible the twenty ducats that he has promised. This is 
little enough for one year and so many months during 
which he is to stay with us before entering the novitiate ; 
but we must try to obtain at least this sum. 

As to the two young men of N. and of N., 2 I have already 
written to you about them. N. may come ; for as he is 
obliged to escape secretly, we cannot, at least for the 
present, exact the twenty-five ducats. In regard to the 
young man of N. he may also come; he is capable; since 
after having examined him, Father N. and the archpriest, 
who is his uncle, I believe, tell me that they are satisfied 
with him, and that his affairs are in a good condition. See 
to it, therefore, that his patrimony be settled, that we be 
assured of the twenty-five ducats, and then let him come. 

Gloria Patri! There is such a concourse of young men 
that we can scarcely receive them all ; provided however, 
they be good, I shall not lose confidence. 

1 This other young man was Donate Mellacio, who had not yet 
attained the proper age to enter the novitiate. 

2 These two others were Vito Polestra and Domenico Blasucci. 



i75o.] Letter 114. 227 

For mercy s sake go to bed in the evening immediately 
after the ringing of the bell; I have been told that you 
sometimes sleep on the floor. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa ! 

From the Roman edition. 

LETTER 114. 
To the Same. 

Grave exhortations. Duties of a Rector. -- Necessity 
of dying to one s self. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, February i, [1750]. 

I beg you to read this letter with attention and to 
preserve it, because in future it may be of service to you. 

Before all, to speak freely to you, I say that I do not 
think that you would wish to be treated with delicacy and 
consideration in reference to matters concerning obedience, 
as if you were a weak subject and a man of no good will. 
This, between you and me, is the case with some members 
of the Congregation. I have a different idea of your 
Reverence ; for I am convinced that you wish what is most 
perfect and agreeable to God. 

Let us now come to the point. You know that I have 
always esteemed you and that I still esteem you ; facts have 
proved this. I should regret if any one would recall 
vividly to my mind what has already been told to me, 
namely, that you are a saint, but that you are not fit to be 
Rector, perhaps for the following reasons : That as Superior 
you are but little at home ; there is wanting the necessary 
order in all that regards the house and regular observance ; 
that your Reverence takes upon yourself the care of a 
multitude of useless things, piglia tante gatte a pettinare, 1 
so many letters, so much correspondence, so many 

1 Literally : comb so many cats ! 



228 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

unsuitable occupations, etc., especially, however, so many 
devotions to which you appear to be attached, to the 
detriment of regular observance. 

We are all convinced that you do not go out, that 
you do nothing unless it be for God; but, ne quid nimis 
[not anything too much]. Now that you are in the Con 
gregation, above all as Superior, you should think that the 
greatest glory that can be given to God is, that you watch 
over the maintenance of observance and the good of this 
house, which is one of the best, and even, I may say so, 
the best that we have. It is true, as at present your 
number is small the order of the day, etc. cannot be 
entirely kept; but why not adhere to it when it can be 
done conveniently? Hence in regard to sleep, be kind 
enough to listen to me. I beg you to go to bed at the time 
fixed by the Rule, at least for the night. All that I 
permit you is the half hour that I have granted you; 
nothing more. After that, if you have to attend to some 
necessary affair, you may do so in the morning by omitting 
prayer at the time of rising, and you may act thus only in 
some other very rare case that may present itself at the 
most once or twice a year. But this half hour you must 
measure by your hour-glass, so that you must be in bed as 
soon as the half hour has elapsed ; and this is to be under 
stood only when you are at home ; for when you are on 
missions, charity towards your companions requires that 
you should go to bed when the others do. 

As for going out, you have already noticed that when 
the head is wanting everything gets out of order. I do not 
however forbid you to go out when there is question 
of some affair that concerns the house or the Congregation, 
or the glory of God in a matter of importance ; but if for the 
glory of God you wished to avail yourself of every occasion 
that presents itself to you every day, in every part of this 
diocese, you would not be able to be at home for a 



Letter 114. 229 

moment. The greatest glory of God and the will of God re 
quire, I repeat, that you watch over the interests of the house, 
of the church Mater Domini, and of regular observance, so 
that there may not be verified in you what others have 
suspected. 

I write to you with all affection, because I esteem you 
and esteem you much ; I have a high idea of your merit, 
and I hope that you will be one of those who in the Con 
gregation wish to sanctify themselves like Fathers Cafaro, 
Villani, Mazzini, Fiocchi, Ferrara, etc., who are dead to their 
own will, and you would not wish to resemble certain others 
whom I must treat with great consideration. I will treat 
them in this manner; but I see that they will not become 
saints like those whom the Superiors can, according to my 
usual expression, cut to pieces. You see that I speak to 
you with sincerity and for your advancement. Why have 
you given yourself to God with all that you possess? In 
order to sanctify yourself. What misfortune would it then 
be for you if now you should not attain this object ! God 
has wished and wishes, as you see, great things of you ; 
but what he chiefly desires is, that you should be dead to 
your own will and to your own gratification. You know 
better than I that this is the essential point, and merely by 
entering the Congregation, you have made a sacrifice 
of your will ; beware lest you take back the least part of it ; 
for this would surely hinder you from attaining sanctity. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 



15* 



2 30 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 115. 
To the Same. 

Joy at seeing him humble and resigned. Different details. 

ClORANI, February 7, [1750]. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your letter, so expressive of humility and of resignation, 
afforded me the greatest consolation. I expected this, and 
for this reason I took that liberty with you. You know 
now how I esteem and love you. 

I agree with your Reverence with regard to the young 
men of Morra ; it will be very difficult to induce the bishop 
to accept the patrimonies presented; he may give the 
same answer that he gave in the case of Niccolo. Now, 
as soon as the patrimonies are settled and signed before 
law, you may send the two young men, but with the 
understanding that they are to undergo an examination. 

Try to send Don Paolino [Scibelli], as I told you in my 
last letter. I shall be satisfied if he arrives at the beginning 
of the mission. I am also asking Don Angelo 1 to render 
some assistance. 

If [Don Pasquale] Amendolara does not go to the 
archbishop in person, he will not be able to effect any 
thing. 

I know the debts contracted in the building of the new 
house. 2 But remember that the archbishop after giving one 
hundred ducats of his own money and contributions from 
other priests, wishes to see the building erected. Act with 
your usual prudence, and do all that you can to have those 

1 Don Angelo Latessa, a secular priest at this time, afterwards 
entered the Congregation. 

2 The building of the house at Caposele. 



Letter 115. 231 

rooms that were lately planned, finished as quickly as 
possible. That arrangement about the books in return for 
the Masses is working admirably, as you wrote to me; 
however, I ask your Reverence to see whether others who 
have not taken the obligation upon themselves, are saying 
the Masses. 

Only ten requests for books, as I wrote to you, were 
sent in from the diocese. Now do not send more than this 
number, and do not send away any in future without letting 
me know, and then I shall write to you. It is true that I 
have certain other Masses; but still I wish first to be 
informed. For these ten copies they will have to say 
Masses during the month of May. I have already made 
the intentions; you may give the Masses to whomsoever 
you wish; with regard to other books please write to me 
first. As for those ten copies destined for the diocese, 
I wished to say that if now you can dispose of eight 
or nine of them for Mass-intentions, it will not be any 
longer necessary for me to procure an exchange of in 
tentions. But this is with the understanding that the 
Masses in payment of these eight or nine books be celebrated 
during the month of February ; for if they should be said 
during the month of May, it would be necessary for you to 
obtain for me an exchange of intentions, and I should repay 
you in May. 

It will not be necessary to have one hundred Masses said 
on a loan; seventy-two will be sufficient. Mind well, 
seventy -two are sufficient. Remember this, no more, otherwise 
I shall find myself in trouble. Please then tell me when, 
and on what day you give or have given the aforesaid 
books, either to persons in the diocese, or in any other place 
where you can also give them if you wish. 

I have already received the twenty carlini together with 
a list of twenty Masses from Brother Gennaro [Rendina]. 



232 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

I embrace and bless you all ; salute for me Don Angelo 
[Latessa]. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
Your very affectionate confrere, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Father William Loewe- 
kamp, C.SS. R. 

LETTER Il6. 

To Father Cesare Sportelli, at Pagani. 
He rejoices to hear that he is in better health, 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

ClORANI, March n, [1750]. 

I feel sorry about Father Tannoia, and I am glad that 
your Reverence is better, and that I have before me your 
letter. In regard to the saying of Mass, you must be 
obedient to the doctors. Here the news was received that 
you were worse, and we have therefore begun a novena to 
the Blessed Virgin for your Reverence. 1 

Tell Father Rector [Don Carmine Fiocchi] that this 
morning, at a late hour, the Fathers will go to Santa Maria 
Maggiore. 2 

Propose to the doctors whether it would not be better to 
send as soon as possible Father Tannoia to Iliceto to inhale 
the air of Puglia. 

On Monday when Angelillo returns let him bring me 
all our books on Moral Theology, namely, those of Busem- 
baum that are there. I have to send them elsewhere. Those 
books only need remain that are in plain binding. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! I embrace and bless 
you all. 

1 Father Sportelli died shortly after, namely, April 19. 

2 S. Maria Maggiore, a hamlet of Nocera. 



i75o.] Letter ///. 233 

Send to me Angelillo every Monday, and on Sundays 
and Wednesdays as soon as the carrier from Nocera brings 
the manuscripts. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
Your very affectionate confrere, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Signer Vincenzo Tra- 
montano at Pagani. 

LETTER 117. 
To Father Francesco Margotta and to his Consultors. 

J.M.J. 

Orders left after the canonical Visitation made in the house 
of Mater Domini in Caposele, May 16, 1750. 

The present state of this house for want of a dwelling 
suitable for our Institute induces us to urge upon the 
Superior the necessity of making some improvements in it, 
so that regular observance may be established. 

We further ordain that a door should be made from the 
church leading to the well, as also that a lock should be 
put on the door of the sacristy, and finally, that there 
should be appointed a secular procurator who is to collect 
what is due to the house. 

This is what we have thought well to ordain for the 
present Visitation, confiding for the rest in the prudence, 
piety, zeal, and rare qualities of the Superior of this house, 
which are well known to us. 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, R. M., 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
GIOVANNI MAZZINI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer, 

Co- Visitor and. Vice -Secretary. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



234 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 118. 

To Canon D. Giacomo Fontana, at Naples. 
He sends him his book "The Glories of Mary." 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CiORANl, October 12, [1750]. 

I send you my work on the Madonna. This poor book 
has met with many contradictions j 1 it was finally published 
after many difficulties, and a labor of many years employed 
in condensing what it contains. 

I have been suffering from a catarrh of the chest, but at 
present I am better. We shall see each other at Naples, 
shortly. In the mean time recommend me to the Madonna, 
and believe me, 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[/*. S.~\ I send you two copies of the work. One is for 
you, the other is destined for Don Matteo Testa 2 who, I 
am happy to hear, is better ; be kind enough to send it to 
him. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

I have already sent two copies to Signor D. Giacomo 
Martorelli. 3 He will have received them by this time, I 
hope ; if not, he will receive them soon. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

After an old copy. 

1 St. Alphonsus, who could never be satisfied with the Neapolitan 
examiners charged with the revision of books, no doubt refers here 
to certain difficulties which were raised against " The Glories of 
Mary." The teachings followed at Naples were generally very 
severe, and the holy Doctor had more than one discussion with the 
censors, as one may gather from his letters. 

2 Matteo Testa, a celebrated missionary who became later on 
Grand Almoner and died as Archbishop of Reggio. 

3 A Neapolitan priest, the author of several learned works. 



i75o. j Letter //<?. 235 

LETTER IIQ. 
To a Gentleman of Vitolano. 1 

Arrangement about a mission. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NAPLES, November 7, 1750. 

I received your second most esteemed favor here at 
Naples where I am engaged in giving a mission at the 
church of Spiritu Santo. I have already answered Signor 
\}iatne illegible^, and the mission has already been arranged. 
I cannot go myself, but my companions will serve you and 
the gentlemen of Vitolano to whom I have also written. 
After the mission at Gesualdo, 2 they will go to Monte- 
falcione, and from Montefalcione 3 they will send word to 
those gentlemen of the day of their arrival. So I have 
written to my companions and they have written to me that 
they would act accordingly. Everything is now arranged 
[some wards illegible]. Live Jesus, Mary! 

Your very devoted and very affectionate servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After a copy. 

1 Vitolano, a town in the diocese of Benevento. 

2 Gesualdo, a town in the diocese of Frigento. 

3 Montefalcione, a town in the diocese of Benevento. 



236 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 



LETTER 120. 

To Sister Maria di Gesu, a Carmelite, Prioress of the 
Monastery at Ripacandida. 1 

Answer to a difficulty in regard to holy Communion. 

, Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 30, [1750]. 

I answer your letter briefly. As for continuing to be 
guided as you were before according to the advice of your 
old director, I not only think this to be good, but it is even 
necessary ; otherwise you could not know with certainty the 
will of God. 

In regard to the union with God which your soul ex 
periences after Communion, you should be without fear; 
you do not commit an act of idolatry; for it would be 
idolatry if you adored yourself. 2 It is an effect proper to 

1 St. Alphonsus, after the mission given at Melfi in the month 
of April, 1750, went to preach a mission at Ripacandida where, says 
Tannoia, he did not omit to pay a visit to the Carmelite nuns, and 
he was greatly edified by their fervor. Their monastery had been 
founded October 15, 1735, by the archpriest Giambattista Rossi, 
who died in the odor of sanctity in the month of November, 1746. 

Sister Maria di Gesu was the niece of this archpriest and of the 
archpriest of Contursi, the author of the Life of Mgr. Cavalieri, uncle 
of St. Alphonsus. How much our saint esteemed this nun, appears 
from the many letters addressed to her. 

2 The Sister had written to him as follows : " Wishing to adore 
(Jesus Christ himself) in himself, and not himself in myself, who 
am infinite baseness, I cannot succeed. What causes me most pain, 
my Father, is that having reached the greatest depth of my hell, I 
nevertheless feel myself, notwithstanding my immense miseries, 
united with this good Master, and in the closest manner. I am 
afflicted to see him so profoundly abased in me ; but when I wish to 
break this union, to leave him himself in himself and myself in 
myself, I feel myself dying, and it seems that my soul must separate 
itself from my body ; for our Lord does not wish to consent to this, 
and he continues to hold me in the close union of which I have 



1750.] Letter 120. 237 

this sacrament to transform the soul into Jesus Christ so 
that the soul may say with St. Paul : Vivo ego, jam non 
ego, sed Christus in me. [I live now not I, but Christ 
liveth in me.] Endeavor "therefore to check yourself so as 
to allow nothing to appear in the presence of your Sisters ; 
but for the rest, abandon yourself to God, and do not put 
any obstacles in the way of the divine operations. All that 
you have then to do is, to annihilate yourself before God, 
and to offer yourself to him without reserve to the end that 
he may dispose of you according to his will. 

I am pleased with what you tell me about the newly 
professed, and especially about the daughters of Don Bene 
detto : x let them pray for me to Jesus, their divine Spouse. 
Now tell me what I can do at the bishop s to be useful to 
you and to oblige the Community which is so dear to me. 
You are all of you in my eyes more than my own sisters ; 
for I know that you love Jesus Christ, my Master. Rec 
ommend me without ceasing to Jesus Christ - - me and the 
Congregation, and let the Sisters do the same. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

spoken. What happens to me in Communion, happens to me also 
in prayer; night and day, continually, at every moment, I find 
myself in this state, in which, however, I preserve my liberty. Be 
so good my Father, to give me advice, and tell me whether I am 
not an idolatress of myself. Dissipate my fears; you well understand 
in what an abasement I find myself; help me for the love of the 
Most Blessed Virgin and of my mother St. Teresa, whom you love ; 
for I know that you love her. Finally I beg you to forgive me if I 
have written too much. . ." 

1 These new Spouses were two daughters of D. Benedetto Grazioli 
of Atella, a very pious and rich man who bestowed abundant gifts 
upon the Institute of St. Alphonsus. 



238 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 



LETTER 121. 

To Canon Giacomo Fontana, Rector of the Urban Seminary 
of Naples. 1 

He asks him for information in regard to the studies at the 
seminary. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, January 28, 1751. 

My dear Canon : Be so kind as to tell me in a few words 
what rule is followed in the seminary in regard to the study 
of theology. I should like to know how much time is 
devoted in the morning to study in the rooms, and how 
long the class lasts. What is done after dinner? When 
do the theses, conferences, repetitions take place? What 
is the occupation in the evening? 

I should like to know, moreover, whether during their 
course of theology, the students also follow another course 
either of the study of languages or of another science. 
Please furnish me with these details and recommend me to 
Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
Believe me, my dear Canon, 

Your very devoted and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

1 There were at Naples two seminaries: one destined properly 
speaking for the Neapolitans ; this was called the urban seminary ; 
the other destined for the Neapolitans of the diocese of Naples ; this 
was called the diocesan seminary. (Sparano, Historical Memoires}. 



Letter 122. 239 



LETTER 122. 

To Father Francesco Margotta, Rector of the House at 
Caposele. 

He complains of a lay-brother and of Father Margotta 
himself. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, March 7, [1751]. 

I hear in regard to Brother N. that by his bad conduct 
he renders himself disagreeable, not only to the Community, 
but to strangers, especially by his disrespectful way of 
speaking to the Fathers, by his rudeness and his stinginess. 
I draw your attention to this last point: for pity s sake, 
if the food given by the Community is simple and frugal let 
the Fathers and the Brothers at least not suffer in this 
respect. What good does it do to build within and to 
demolish without? If any one loses his vocation through 
our fault, we shall make ourselves accountable to God. It 
will be necessary that I withdraw this Brother from your 
house and send him to Ciorani to be the assistant of the 
cook. Give him a severe reprimand, and tell him if he 
becomes incorrigible and does not conduct himself as a lay- 
brother should, I shall be obliged, notwithstanding the 
interest that I take in him, to expel him from the Con 
gregation. After what has happened in Father N s case I 
am resolved to be no longer indulgent. For him that does 
not wish to live in the Congregation as he should, the door 
is open ; I do not wish to lose my soul for the sake of any 
one. I beg you to tell him all this word for word. 

As to what your Reverence writes to me, namely, that 
/ should not give you any command, because it would place 
you in an embarrassing position and make you run risks, 
I must say to you, my dear Francesco, that I give you no 
command, but such language is displeasing to me. Consider, 



240 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

my dear Francesco, that in this way you will surely never 
sanctify yourself, and if you wish to live in the Congregation 
in such a manner that the Superior may not give you any 
command for fear of embarrassing or making you run risks 
grave words which your understanding did not dictate 
and which have caused me singular pain your interior 
trials J will always increase ; for then you take back your 
will which you have given to God; then the Lord will leave 
you to be a prey to your own troubles of conscience, and I 
know not what will then become of your eternal salvation. 
I beg you to reflect on this before the crucifix, and to write 
to me in regard to this matter so as to remove my anxiety. 

I moreover hear that you have perhaps changed your 
director by leaving Father Paul [Cafaro]. This I should 
very much regret ; for if that is the case, I should think that 
you have left him without a good reason, simply because 
he does not enter into your views. It seems to me however 
that this is not the right way. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 123. 
To a Nun of the Most Holy Redeemer, at Scala. 

She should allow herself to be guided by obedience. The 
way of desolation is the way of divine love. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

ClORANI, May 30. [1751?] 

Gloria Patri! You say that you have been brief, and it 
is almost a memoir that you have sent me ! Yes, to oblige 
you, I answer you, although my first letter should have 
sufficed ; I answer you in order that you may become still 

1 Father Margotta was then a prey to great interior trials, as is 
shown in his correspondence with Father Cafaro, his director. 



I75I-] Letter 123. 241 

more tranquil, and before writing I recommended myself to 
the Blessed Virgin. I assure you that you are in the state 
of grace, and that God wishes to sanctify you by means 
of these tribulations. You should not desire that the Lord 
should conduct you by an easier way ; allow yourself to be 
guided as it pleases him. I see with satisfaction that you 
often invoke God and^Mary; but I desire that you should 
ask him for the grace of always doing the divine will, by 
always offering yourself to God and by praying to him that 
he should treat you as he pleases. You pray for consolation, 
and such a prayer will help you but little, because there is 
too much self-love in it. Ask our Lord for the grace 
of loving him ; but it does not matter whether he makes 
known to you that you love him. You write to me that 
you have confidence in what I may enjoin by obedience. 
But upon whom, think you, should I enjoin anything by 
obedience? Upon God? I cannot give any command to 
God ; and if I could, I would not do so, because the road 
on which he conducts you is the best road for your 
salvation, and I clearly see that God is thus surely con 
ducting you to his love. If you wish that I should give to 
the devil the order that you desire, I must declare to you 
that I do not wish to have anything to do with that beast. 
I therefore give you the order if you have confidence in 
me ; for if you have no confidence in me, of what use is it 
to lose your time in writing to me and to make me lose my 
time in answering you ? 

Hence I tell you in the name of God, and repeat what I have 
said, that you are in the state of grace, and that he certainly 
wishes to lead you to sanctity on the road on which he 
keeps you. If you depart from this road to withdraw 
yourself from the sufferings and tediousness that you ex 
perience, I do not know what will become of your eternal 
salvation. Continue to move onward as you are doing; 
offer to God all this anguish ; pray to him that he may give 
16 



242 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

you strength to bear it, that he may not deprive you of it, 
and do not ask for consolations. Why should you speak 
of exorcisms, possessions, and visiting holy sanctuaries? 
In the name of obedience, think no more of them, and 
drive from your mind every thought against your vocation. 
If you lose your vocation you will lose your soul and your 
God. But you will say, How shall I be able thus to hold 
out? Have patience; such is the good pleasure of your 
Spouse, who very much loves you; yes, believe me, he 
loves you much, and does everything for your good. It 
would be to you sweet consolation to know that in all that 
you suffer you give pleasure to God ; now suffer for God, 
even without knowing this ; this will be far better. 

If you answer me that it is possible for me to be deceived, 
I would then say to you that it will no longer be necessary 
for you to write to me; seek another director in whom you 
have confidence, come to an understanding with him, and 
let there be no question about me. 

I command you, moreover, in a formal manner, never, 
never, never to confess these temptations, even if you 
believe to have consented to them. I say this and take it 
on my conscience. Do not do so even if you were at the 
point of death ; for there is no sin in all that, as far as you are 
concerned. The sentiments of which you speak are ap 
prehensions, fears ; but they are not sins. 

But you will say that just the contrary appears to you to 
be true. But I say to you, you have not to believe what 
appears to you to be true, but what the ministers of God 
say to you. And when I shall die? If I die in this state, 
with these temptations, these sentiments, this affection for 
sin ? I say to you that if you die in this state, your 
salvation is sure. 

Well then ! I repeat, preserve this letter, and when new 
trials assail you, go in search of Sister Maria Angiola, and 
give her this letter to read. Then, I impose it upon you as 



I75I-] Letter 124. 243 

a matter of obedience, that you do all that she tells you to do, 
that you believe all that she tells you, although it may appear 
to you that new circumstances have supervened. 

Recommend me always to Jesus Christ, especially now 
when I have to go to Naples. This will be in the month 
of July, and God knows how many months I shall have to 
languish there on account of our affairs. Here we are in a 
house full of sick people ; recommend to Jesus Christ so 
many young men who are thus sorely tried. 

I send regards to Sister Maria Raffaella, Sister Maria 
Angiola, Mother Superior, and other Sisters ; let them all 
recommend me to Jesus Christ. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 124. 
To Father Giuseppe Muscari.i 

Immense wrong that he has done to the Congregation. 
Entreaty that he should no more bring the Institute into 
disfavor. 

[ClORANi, October 16, 1751.] 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
It is now two nights, my very dear Father, that I have 
not closed an eye. It is impossible for me to find peace 

J Father Giuseppe Muscari, of whom mention has been made 
above (Letters 107; 108, 109) having been appointed Prefect of 
students on account of his extensive erudition, abused this high 
trust and caused the loss of vocation to four young men, namely, 
Pasquale Adinolfi, Domenico Cacciatore, Gaetano Spera, and Do- 
menico Sviglia. He depicted the condition of the Congregation to 
these youths in the very darkest colors, and then proposed to found 
a new Institute in the city of Rome. His treacherous plan was only 
too successful, for after his dismissal from the Congregation as 



244 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

when I recall to mind the disaster brought upon our poor 
Congregation, which was once so dear to your Reverence, 
and which has become so odious to you since you have 
entered it. I could not at first persuade myself that you 
took any part in the loss of vocation of these unfortunate 
young men ; but now I am convinced that you did both by 
what they have told me themselves, and by what I have 
since learned from others. I do not here enter into any 
details ; it would be useless and you would grow only more 
incensed. You know, my dear Father, that I loved and 
esteemed you before you had come among us. You also 
know since you entered what I have done for the purpose 
of honoring you as much as is possible to do in a poor 
Congregation such as ours is. I confided to you from the 
very beginning what I would call our most precious treasure, 
cur young men. I conferred upon you at once the title 
of Professor, Prefect and spiritual Father of these interesting 
young men. In order to .prevent all ill-feeling, I sent away 
from Nocera Father Mazzini an estimable and edifying 
member of the Congregation. 1 This was done not without 
fear ; you understood it well. 

You will say, my apprehensions are groundless. Alas ! 
experience has but too well proved that they were not 
without foundation when we see the ruin of four young 

St. Alphonsus had penetrated his base design the four deluded 
youths presented themselves to the saint and haughtily demanded a 
dispensation. Not being able to obtain this, they turned their 
backs upon their vocation. This sad story may be found in Tannoia 
in his Life of the saint, Book ii. chap. xxxv. We however add that 
Gaetano Spera and Domenico Sviglia, seeing the folly of their 
course, returned after some time, and had the happiness of dying 
happily in the Congregation, the former in the year 1762, the latter 
on March 27, 1797. 

1 On account of the ill-feeling that had arisen between Fathers 
Muscari and Mazzini St. Alphonsus had sent the latter to the house 
at Caposele. 



i75i.] Letter 124. 245 

men, who were truly angels, and who yesterday morning 
presented themselves before me like so many furies. I 
began to entreat them with the most tender affection; I 
went so far as to throw myself at their feet, begging them 
to put off at least for three days their departure, which they 
wished to take at once. Poor children ! I loved all four 
of them as the apple of my eye, because they had been real 
angels, who had particularly distinguished themselves by 
their sincere humility, edifying all the rest. Yesterday, 
however, you would have been scandalized yourself had 
you witnessed their violent agitation, the arrogance with 
which they spoke to me, the tone of contempt and menace 
in which they cried out against the Congregation, going so 
far as to say that they would have recourse to his Majesty 
and denounce me as trying to keep them back by force, 
because I refused to grant them the dispensation from their 
vows and their oath. Good heavens ! it was they that 
bound themselves to Jesus Christ, and they accuse me 
of holding them back by force ! And why then did I not 
grant them the dispensation for which they had asked ? Was 
it not because I loved them, because I had compassion on 
them, and because I saw them sacrifice their vocation on 
account of a mere temptation of the devil ? 

But enough of this. I do not wish to give you more 
annoyance ; for I very well see that every one of my words 
must give you pain. Yes, enough of this. Yet neither I 
nor the Congregation has deserved such treatment from 
you. I forgive you, and I beg Jesus Christ to forgive you ; 
because I still esteem you, because I love you, and because 
I entertain the hope that if now you do not open your eyes 
to your present condition, a day may come when the 
Blessed Virgin will make you know and deeply deplore an 
error that has been so fatal to the Congregation and to 
these four young men. Nothing can dispense you from the 
obligation of acknowledging this; for the public loudly 
16* 



246 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

accused you of having betrayed the Congregation ; the very 
stones can attest this. 

You have written that you would not do the Congregation 
any harm, that you would even try to be useful to it ; well ! 
I conjure you to-day not to inflict any injury; for you 
would thereby outrage Jesus Christ himself. We are only 
in this world to suffer and to labor in order to gain poor 
souls for Jesus Christ ; no one knows this better than you. 
But I tremble to think that hereafter at the very name 
of the Congregation, the devil may recall to your mind the 
object of your greatest hatred, and that he may persuade 
you that you have no other means of justifying your 
conduct than to defame us. Do not follow this suggestion, 
my dear Father. I write to you in all sincerity and with 
tears in my eyes. I entertain the hope that when the 
passion that actuates you against us and against our wise 
counsellors has subsided, you will by facts show that the 
love that you once bore towards our Congregation has 
again entered your heart. 

As for your effects and your books, have no anxiety. It 
was your person that we have loved and desired, not the 
objects that you have brought with you. Now it is only 
your person that I regret to lose ; I disregard all the rest. 
Once more ; it is you that I love, and you are not ignorant 
of my affection and my esteem ; as for anything else be 
without fear; you will be perfectly satisfied. 

I remain, yours most respectfully, etc. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



i75i.J Letter 125. 247 

LETTER 125. 
To the Vicar-General of Benevento. 

He asks him to do a service. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, November 4, 1751. 

Very Reverend and dear Sir: I recommend to your 
charity our Prater de Angelis, who is truly an angel 
of virtue. He will call upon you with a letter l in reference 
to the settlement of his patrimony. 

At the beginning of the month I will send our Fathers to 
serve his Eminence 2 and your Reverence in certain places 
of the diocese of Benevento, and if I can render you any 

1 Nicodemo de Angelis saw his profession considerably delayed 
on account of the requirements of his patrimony. The eulogy 
bestowed upon him by St. Alphonsus on account of the purity of his 
morals, he merited during the course of his whole life. We take 
pleasure in transcribing here a note that Father D. Lorenzo Nigro 
in "Vita del Servo di Dio Antonio Puzzo, familiare de PP. del SS. 
Redentore" (Napoli 1792), has consecrated to his pious memory: 
" Father D. Nicodemo de Angelis died in our house at Ciorani in 
the odor of sanctity, aged sixty-two, having been a member of the 
Congregation for forty-three years and four months. He was visited 
by the Lord with a long and painful apoplexy, which deprived him 
of the use of his right arm and left leg. His resignation to the 
divine will was heroic, and as he could no longer celebrate Mass, 
he received our Lord every day in holy Communion. He showed 
the greatest devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ and to the 
Blessed Virgin Mary. Most exact in all the exercises of the Com 
munity, he was the first to rise in the morning, in all seasons, and 
went at once to the choir and the church under great difficulties ; he 
could be seen moving through the corridors, resting with one hand 
against the wall, in order to visit and to speak to our Lord in the 
Blessed Sacrament. Having been thus tried for more than five 
years, after many other new sufferings, he died the death of the just in 
the peace of the Lord, May 19, 1792." 

2 Cardinal Francesco Landi. 



248 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

other service, I shall be at your command. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very devoted and very grateful servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an original copy preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 126. 

To the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Redeemer. 

Means of preventing the loss of vocation. Various or 
dinances regarding the missions. 

[November, 1751.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

My very dear Brethren : Know that I am not afflicted to 
hear that any one of my brethren has been called by God to 
another life. I am touched by such a thing, because I am 
a creature of flesh; yet I am comforted because he has died 
in the Congregation ; for then I hold for certain that he is 
saved. Nor am I afflicted when any" one among us, because 
of his faults, ceases to be a member of the Congregation ; 
on the contrary, I am happy to see that we are delivered 
from a sickly sheep that might have infected others. Far 
less am I afflicted because of persecutions ; for they inspire 
me with courage, because if we conduct ourselves well, I 
am sure that God will not abandon us. But what alarms 
me is, to hear that there is among us any one that is 
negligent, that obeys little and pays no attention to the 
Rule. 

My Brethren, you well know that several who have been 
with us are now out of the Congregation. What their end 
will be I know not ; but I am sure that they will lead a life 
of continual misfortune ; they will live in trouble and die 



I75I-] Letter 126. 249 

without peace for having abandoned their vocation. They 
have left us to live more happily and contentedly ; but the 
thought that they have abandoned God to live according to 
their own caprice, will never leave them one day of rest. 
They will practise with difficulty the exercise of prayer, 
because in prayer they will be harassed by remorse of con 
science for having left God; and thus they will abandon 
prayer, aud God knows where they will end. 

I beseech you to avoid deliberate faults, and above all those 
faults for which you have been reprimanded. If correction 
leads the delinquent to amend, the fault will be nothing; 
but when he does not amend, the devil will employ every 
artifice to make him lose his vocation. It is by this means 
that he has already caused the loss of so many others. 

By the grace of God, whenever we go on missions we 
perform wonders ; people say that they have never had a 
mission like ours. And why ? Because we go by obedience, 
we go in poverty, we preach Christ crucified, and each one 
is attentive to acquit himself of the charge that has been 
imposed upon him. I have, however, been deeply grieved 
to hear that some among you when on missions have been 
desirous of obtaining the more honorable employments, 
such as preaching or instructing. But what fruit could he 
produce who preaches through pride? This is something 
that I view with horror. If this spirit of ambition enters the 
Congregation, the missions will do little good, or they will 
produce none at all. 

I have also been informed that some of you have begun 
to preach in a flowery style. I repeat that the familiar style 
is that by which the missions, novenas and spiritual exer 
cises are made successful. In all the sermons, even for the 
festivals of the saints and other special occasions, I wish 
that every one should speak familiarly without a studied 
tone of voice or choice expressions. When one preaches to 
priests or before a select audience, one should not use in 



250 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

the discourses phrases so popular as those that one uses 
when preaching to the people composed of educated and 
ignorant persons ; one should however always speak familiar 
ly; and I pray to Jesus Christ to chastise in a signal 
manner whoever wishes to introduce a figurative style. Let 
us take care ; for it is certain that pride has driven many 
out of the Congregation. 

On missions pay attention to the food. What aids us to 
make our missions give great edification is, that we are 
satisfied with the little that the Rule permits in accordance 
with what has been our practice heretofore. During the 
time of the missions I absolutely forbid the eating of chicken 
or of other things forbidden by the Rule; I will hardly 
allow in case of accidental sickness the eating of chicken 
when such a thing has been prescribed by the physician. 
It would be better to find some other remedy. The same 
prohibition extends to the case in which one stays at a 
house in passing from one mission to another, because this 
time still belongs to the time of the mission. 

I also forbid * all the Superiors and Ministers without my 
express permission to allow women of whatever rank to 
enter our houses, to go to the refectory or the kitchen. I 
moreover forbid the Superiors to give subjects permission 
to procure certain special things for their own personal use ; 
if they need these things, let the Community furnish them. 
I forbid the subjects the keeping of money that is at their 
free disposal. 

My Brethren, let us conduct ourselves well before God, 
and God will aid us in all the persecutions that men and 
demons may raise against us. I pray every day> and 
several times a day, for you all and for each one of you, 
and I desire each one of you to recommend me in a special 

1 At this time there did not yet exist in the Congregation the 
law of enclosure which was introduced a short while afterwards. 



i75i.] Letter 12^. 251 

manner to Jesus Christ. I conclude by blessing you all, 
one after the other. 

BROTHER ALFONSO MARIA, 

Rector Major. 
After an old copy. 



LETTER 127. 
To Mother Maria di Gesu, at Ripacandida. 

The interest taken by the saint in the Community at Ripa 
candida. 

[December, 1751.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Be without fear; I have punctually received your two 
letters, and I thank you for your charity. As for going to 
see you, my dear Mother, the thing is not possible at present. 
My health will not allow me to make such journeys ; besides, 
I am very busy having a work printed for the use of con 
fessors. I have therefore not a moment to spare this year, 
and I never leave the house. Later on , who knows ? 
If God wished the foundation, 1 nothing is impossible before 
God. Mgr. [di Melfi] is much in favor of it; but the 
difficulty is to receive the king s permission. Pray then for 
this intention. Who knows what will happen? 

But if I do not go to Ripacandida personally, be not 
disturbed. To give the retreat I will send you a Father 
with whom, I hope, you will be satisfied. In the mean 
time tell me what I can do for you with Monsignor to be 
useful to you and to oblige your Community which is so 
dear to me. You are in my eyes more than my own 
sisters, for I know that you love Jesus Christ, my Master. 
Write me the request that I might make of Monsignor in 

1 There was then question of a foundation at Rionero in the 
diocese of Melfi. 



252 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

regard to the confessor and the procurator, and always 
recommend me to Jesus Christ. 

In regard to the servant, I have spoken about the matter 
to Father Fiocchi, and I see no difficulty ; the more so as 
she had already entered ; and if she went away it was on 
account of health. Besides, the other servants are all a 
little sick. 

As to the chorists, I beg you to be firm and not to allow 
the number to go beyond twenty-one. I have told Father 
Fiocchi that if he ever uttered a word to the contrary, he 
should take it back and write to you. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 128. 
To Father Pietro Petrella,! at Iliceto. 

Obedience to Superiors is the most essential thing in the 
Congregation. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

NOCERA DE PAGANI, January 5, [1752]. 

I have been informed that in your house the new Su 
perior , Father Gallo, 2 is not much respected , perhaps 
because he is young. Let all the Fathers and Brothers 
who are members and will soon be members of the Com 
munity, understand that it is my wish that every Superior 
whom I send (even though I should send a stick) should be 
respected as if he were myself; and I wish that he should 

1 Father Petrella was born June 29, 1726, at Trivico; he made his 
profession, July 2, 1748, and died a holy death at Iliceto, March 15, 
1771. 

2 This was probably Father Salvadore Gallo who was then tempo 
rary Superior in the absence of Father Carmine Fiocchi. The latter 
had the preceding month succeeded Father Paolo Cafaro as Rector 
of the house at Iliceto. 



1752.] Letter 129. 253 

be esteemed and obeyed like myself. Should any one not 
wish to do this, your Reverence should promptly inform 
me, and it will then be my duty to inflict upon him an 
exemplary penance, and in the end if there be no other 
remedy, I shall be obliged to expel him from the Con 
gregation, even though he were my own brother. If you 
take away from the Superior all esteem and obedience, 
of what use will then be the Congregation ? If the Superior 
does something that appears to be wrong, let the subject 
write to me ; in the mean while obey, and do not murmur 
among yourselves. Read this letter to the members of the 
Community, and from time to time your Reverence should 
send me a report about this matter ; this I expressly enjoin 
upon you. Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an authentic copy preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 129. 
To Father Carmine Picone.i 

Request to sound the disposition of the Archbishop of Conza 
on one point. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, January 15, [1752], 

My dear Carmine : Now that you are there, if any one 
of you should have an occasion to see the archbishop, as is 

1 Rev. Father Carmine Picone was born, October 8, 1727, at Can 
dida, in the diocese of Avellino. " I made the acquaintance of the 
servant of God" he thus speaks in the process for the beatification 
of St. Alphonsus " when I was sent in the year 1749 by my Ordinary 
to Ciorani to make the spiritual exercises before receiving the Order 
of subdeaconship. I remained at Ciorani ten days ; the servant 
of God gave the exercises ; he preached in the evening and Father 



254 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

probable before your departure, let him ask him what we 
should do with the nephew of Father Ferrara 1 who is 
doing exceedingly well and who declares that he would 
rather die than go away. 

Do not show that you take the affair too much to heart ; 
but recommend to the archbishop this poor young man, who 
gives great hopes. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 130. 

To Mother Maria di Gesu, Prioress of the Carmelites 
of Ripacandida. 

How she should behave in the absence of her director. 
Various counsels. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, January 27, 1752. 

I answer you in a few words. Although I sympathize 
with you in your sufferings, yet I am consoled in seeing 

Villani in the morning. There I had for the first time an opportunity 
of beholding his extraordinary zeal and of witnessing the great fruit 
which resulted from his fervent exhortations. There I heard the 
voice of God calling me to leave the world and to embrace the Rule 

of the Congregation I then firmly resolved to enter the 

Institute. This resolution I carried out some six months after the 
spiritual exercises; I proceeded to the house at Ciorani where the 
servant of God, after examining me, as well with regard to my 
vocation as to my studies, admitted me and gave me the habit of the 
Congregation, October 25, 1749." 

The general catalogue of the Congregation speaks in the following 
terms of this subject : " Father Carmine Picone died in our house at 
Nocera, October 16, 1795. He was a holy, mortified, and exemplary 
member of the Institute ; on account of his great virtue he was made 
Master of novices, Rector several terms, and finally Consultor-General. 

1 This nephew of Father Ferrara was the future Father Giuseppe 
Melchionna, who received the habit of the Congregation, March 4, 
1752. 



1752.] Letter 1 30. 255 

you and your companions placed on the cross ; but I regret 
to hear of the disquietude of your Sisters, 1 which appears to 
me to be excessive. It is true, you tell me, that they are 
resigned; but the resignation is not perfect when it is 
accompanied with disquietude. Ask them for me whence 
comes this disquietude ; perhaps because they do not find 
such a director as they would desire? But when God 
wishes this to be so, why should that which pleases God 
displease them ? It is certain that God wishes this to be so, 
because it is thus commanded by the bishop. It is useless 
to say that the bishop has been misinformed ; for though 
the bishop may have been deceived in this matter, yet it is 
certain that God wishes this of you. Besides, I hold for 
certain that the bishop had good reasons to act in this 
manner, either to put an end to the talk, etc. 

But you will say, What shall we do without a director? 
What! is God no longer here? How many souls have 
sanctified themselves in grottoes, in deserts, in which they 
had no other companions than birds and trees? When we 
have a director that is suitable, and do not wish to avail 
ourselves of his services, God will give us no assistance ; 
but when such a director is wanting, as is frequently the 
case outside of Naples, to the great regret of many good 
souls, then God takes charge of everything. The Lord 

1 Mgr. Basta was a very great friend of the Carmelite Fathers, 
whose Order he even wished at one time to enter; but this friend 
ship was the cause of great embarrassment to the holy Prioress 
of the convent of Ripacandida. The fact was, the Carmelites 
of Naples wished to introduce into this monastery a mitigation to 
which both the Prioress and St. Alphonsus were opposed. More 
over, as Mother Maria di Gesu was following extraordinary ways, 
the bishop had her examined by a Carmelite Father, and the latter 
declared her to be a visionary. Finally, in the year 1752, Mgr. 
Basta, after having taken away from the Sisters their old director, 
forbade them to have any communication with other directors. This 
rigorous measure caused great disquietude among these religious. 
St. Alphonsus tries in this letter to remove this disquietude. 



256 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

will not fail to assist those that seek him with their whole 
heart. 

Read this letter to your Sisters, and after some time 
write to me again ; console me with the information that you 
and your companions have thrown yourselves into the arms 
of the amiable Jesus, who allows himself to be easily found 
by the soul that seeks him. 

Have no scruple, neither now, nor later, for having 
written to me without permission. It is sufficient that I tell 
you this, and do not try to find out the reason. But tell 
your Sisters, who are also my sisters, to keep this a secret 
from every one, from the confessor, and even from the 
bishop. 

As for the supernatural graces, recommend to the Sisters 
never to speak of them to that confessor, and I give you 
the same advice in regard to whatever may concern you ; 
tell him only your faults in order to receive absolution from 
time to time. Let the Sisters make known all the rest to 
yourself; and you, as a general thing, after having heard 
them, will answer that those things are dreams and effects 
of the imagination, and that the important thing is to wish 
only what God wishes, to embrace and to love sufferings, 
contempt, poverty, and contradictions. Take care that the 
Community observe in a perfect manner obedience, prayer, 
and poverty ; with these three things perfection will always 
increase in the monastery. In your familiar discourses, in 
the Chapters, chiefly revert to these three points. 

The fears that you experience console me ; I tremble for 
souls that rest too securely in their spiritual affairs. How 
ever, I do not wish any disquietude ; the true fear of God 
produces not disquietude, but peace and joy. For myself, 
I assure you that God is with you; what more do you 
wish ? and as for the things that concern you and that you 
have communicated to me, I regard them, for the most 
part, as the things of God. That is enough. In all your 



I752-] Letter 131. 257 

fears, say: My God, I wish only Thee. Then be calm, 
and banish all uneasiness ; for after what you have written 
to me, I have also discovered a certain excessive dis 
quietude, which does not please God. 

I pray for you and for your Sisters. But do not fail, 
you and your Sisters, to pray in all your Communions for 
my soul, for the Congregation, and also for the foundation 
at Rionero, on the subject of which I fear that the bishop 
has grown indifferent. Impose this upon your Sisters in all 
their Communions. We have on our hands an important 
affair concerning the Congregation. Moreover a Father 
who is very useful to the Institute is sick. 1 To my intention 
make a novena of nine Hail Marys every day to obtain 
these favors, and ask for them during the nine days in holy 
Communion. Remain in the hearts of Jesus and Mary. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved at Scicli in the family of the 
Dukes La Rocca. 

LETTER 131. 
To Father Saverio Rossi, Minister of the House at Ciorani. 

Penance which he imposes upon a lay-brother for having 
committed a grave fault. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NoCERA, 10, [May, 1752]. 

Brother Francesco deserves no compassion; however as 
he has spent many years in the Congregation, and has 

1 This important affair was a persecution from which the Institute 
suffered in consequence of a calumny circulated against it. The 
king was made to believe that the Congregation had acquired a 
property of great value. The sick man was Father Paolo Cafaro. 
17 



258 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

humbled himself, we desire to be indulgent towards him ; 
but he must accept a penance that will be long and severe. * 

Take the habit from him, and let him wear the secular 
dress, since he no longer belongs to the Congregation, 
having been dismissed, and his condition is like that of an 
ordinary postulant. In this point we cannot be indulgent. 
Let him remain secluded in the novitiate; he should not 
come to the refectory, to recreation, and should not go out. 
In regard to meals, impose also some mortification upon 
him, which I leave to your prudence. Help him or have 
him helped as to his spiritual wants. He may receive 
Communion once a week. 

Tell Don Angelo Antonio 1 to come some day to see me, 
for I wish to instruct him what and how he should study. 

Send me again a little roasted coffee. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

Tell Brother Francesco that it is to me that he owes this 
indulgence, because I wish him well. I hardly think that 
another Superior would have done all this for him. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

After the original in possession of Prince Antici at Rome. 

1 Brother Francesco Tartaglione, carried away by the passion 
of anger had thrown a tumbler at a lay-brother who offended him 
by some sarcastic words. He received his penance in the spirit 
of humility, after which he was admitted to profession, October 31, 
1752. 

2 This was a young priest from the diocese of Cava, who on 
account of the opposition made by his family was not as yet able to 
begin his novitiate. 



I752-] Letter /jj. 259 



LETTER 132. 

To Father Francesco Margotta, Procurator-General of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

He begs him to regard the poverty of a house of the 
Congregation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NoCERA, June 2, 1752. 

A Mass-intention should not be taken from Iliceto, for 
Father Fiocchi (I did not think of telling you) celebrates 
Mass for this house at Pagani, which has no other revenues 
than those derived from Mass-stipends. In fact it is 
impossible in view of the circumstances which you know to 
force the debtors to pay at the present time. They give 
you threats for an answer. Patience then, for pity s sake. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Oliviero writes to me that when he called upon the 
book-seller of whom you spoke, Tournely had been sold. 
I have told him to look for it elsewhere. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Father Frederico Bozza- 
otra, C. SS. R. 

LETTER 133. 
To Father Pietro Petrella, at Iliceto. 

He grants him various permissions. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, June 7, [1752]. 

Yes, I received your second letter, which it was not 
necessary to answer. When you are not well, obedience in 
regard to study is not necessary ; when afterwards you are 



260 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

not using medicine, you may apply to study during the 
hour that I have assigned to you. Tell this to the Superior 
and also mention to him the obedience under which I have 
put you, and then do what he says. 

Yes, go to take the baths, and be guided by your 
Superior. 

Blasucci * is at Caposele : we are going to see how he 
will get on there, and afterwards we may think of what is to 
be done. As for Andretta, go there with a companion. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After a copy. 

LETTER 134. 
To Mgr. Borgia, Bishop of Cava. 

Details relative to the vocation of a young priest. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, June 7, 1752. 

I have received your last most esteemed letter, and at 
the same time another letter from the house at Ciorani in 
which it is stated that the parish priest of N. and another 
relative of the said priest had arrived there. They made a 
new assault upon the latter so as to make him set out for 
his home, etc. I am, however, informed that Don Antonio 
strongly insists that he will on no account return home, 
because he fears that he will lose his vocation in the midst 
of so many temptations that he foresees will assail him. 
My dear Monsignor, under such circumstances, I do not 

1 Pietro Paolo Blasucci, who in 1793 became Superior-General 
of the Congregation, secretly fled from Ruovo, his native place, in 
order to enter the Institute of the Most Holy Redeemer. After the 
opposition of his family had subsided , he began his novitiate, 
August 14, of the year 1752. 



1752.] Letter 134. 261 

dare in conscience to dismiss him, and to order him positive 
ly that he should return home. I should feel a scruple if I 
did so, after what the young man has himself told me, and 
according to the letter which I sent your Reverence yester 
day, which I hope you have already read. God knows 
what remorse I felt when I suggested to him the other day 
that he should go to his own home at Naples. In order to 
satisfy his relatives and not to see us disquieted by what his 
father has threatened to do, if he remained in our house, 
Don Antonio is at present ready to go to some monastery 
of monks until the tempest has subsided and the danger 
that threatens to disturb us has ceased. I have, therefore, 
written to the Fathers at Ciorani to favor this design and to 
send this subject to some religious house other than ours 
outside of Naples ; because it would be inexpedient to have 
him stay at Naples, under the present circumstances. After 
this has been done, I do not know what else the relatives 
could claim, since no other order could come to us from 
Marquis Fraggianni, or from the Palace, than that he 
should be sent to a neutral place. This once happened to 
Father Fiocchi, who obeyed the order, and afterwards 
returned to the Congregation. I urge this the more, since 
I hear that the mother is already beginning to be more 
tranquil, and the father will hardly carry out what he has 
threatened to do. For the rest, my dear Monsignor, do 
not doubt that I will not receive the above-mentioned priest 
into the Congregation unless you have given your consent. 
I remain, very respectfully, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 



262 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 



LETTER 135. 

To Father Andrea Villani, Rector of the House at Ciorani 
and Master of Novices. 

Various details concerning the novitiate and the house at 
Ciorani. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, 14, [June, 1752]. 

As for Don [Angelo] Antonio, I have no doubt that he 
will succeed , since his father himself says that he has 
always been an angel of virtue. But we must wait and try 
to satisfy Mgr. Borgia. This is sufficient; later on you 
may shorten his novitiate by adding this time to it. 

As for the young man of Riccia and as for Pietro Picone, 
they may begin their novitiate. 1 

In regard to Melaccio and Cimino, do what your Rever 
ence thinks best. 2 

I am glad to hear about the altar, and I give my blessing 
for artificial flowers and candlesticks. 

When recited privately it seems to me that it is not 
forbidden to use the usual formula. 

For your guidance, a letter has been written [to Naples] 
to Don Giovanni [Oliviero], and the latter writes me that 
he is going to open the subscription without delay. 3 

I have appointed the consultors for Iliceto; but write 
again to this house : they are Fathers Ferrara and Carbone. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Tell the Vice-Rector [Father Saverio Rossi] about what 

1 In fact, Ignazio Fiore, a native of Riccia and Pietro Picone 
began their novitiate June 21. 

2 There is question of the profession of Donate Melaccio and 
of Fabrizio Cimino, which took place July 16 of this year. 

3 This subscription aimed at promoting the sale of the Moral 
Theology of the saint, a second edition of which was at that time 
being printed at Naples. 



1752.] Letter 135. 263 

[D. Andrea] Sarnelli writes, that he should do what he 
says, and procure some alms; at least let him endeavor to 
satisfy Don Andrea and to inform him that what has been 
ordered has been done. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Let Father Saverio come to an understanding with the 
Baron [Nicola Sarnelli] in regard to the place where the 
church 1 is to be. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

[/*. 6" .] I send the prospectus of the subscription, 
Oliviero writes that in October the first volume will be 
issued. 

Send me your manuscript copy of the exercises of the 
missions ; and if yours cannot be found, send me at least 
that which Father Buonamano has copied. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

After the original preserved at Naples in the church of the 
Redemption of Captives. 

1 To understand these words it is enough to refer to a passage of a 
letter from Father Rossi, written in answer, June 20: " My Father 
(thus speaks Rossi), I have already spoken to Signor D. Andrea 
about the building of a church, and I have promised him to spend 
for it every year one hundred ducats ; the mode of carrying away the 
earth has been discussed and the baron has been approached on the 
subject; he also has the intention of contributing something towards 
the building of the church, and Don Andrea has offered to furnish all 
the lime and to maintain the expense of two oxen that are to be 
used to carry the material." 



264 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 136. 
To the Same. 

Various affairs. 

[June 19, 1752.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I have received the writing. As for the ambrette-flowers ; 1 
you may send them later, if there is no risk in the delay. 

As regards the lot it is sufficient to talk about the matter 
and come to some agreement; and so, in regard to the 
demand of Don Andrea Sarnelli, it is enough if he sees that 
something is done. 

I am glad to hear about Father Corpo ; 2 do what you 
think will be best. 

After the morning and the evening meditation, say a 
Salve Regina with the prayer Defende for the house at 
Iliceto which is passing through great misery. The people 
of Iliceto have become our opponents, saying that they 
wish to have there a seminary. 

To-morrow, Tuesday, I must go to Salerno on account 
of Sarnelli s affair. 3 

Don Angelo Antonio has informed us that his infirmity is 
but too true, that he cannot apply his head to anything, 
and that during these past few days he was quite ill. He 
himself has doubts about his vocation ; hence I plainly told 

1 The ambrette is a plant with the odor of ambergris or musk. 
Perhaps the saint intended these plants to adorn the altar of the 
Blessed Sacrament. 

2 Father Francesco Del Corpo had made his profession a month 
before, that is, May 13. 

3 That is, for the affair of the foundation of the house at Ciorani 
made by D. Andrea Sarnelli. The saint, to secure its stability, 
caused another contract to be made by which (the Congregation 
having already been declared by the civil authority incapable of 
making any purchase) he personally accepted the donation from D. 
Andrea. 



1752.] Letter 137. 265 

him that the Congregation was not the place for him. He 
at once started this morning for Cava. I gave him a letter 
addressed to Monsignor. I wish him a safe journey ! 

He was a good young man, but he had not studied, nor 
could he study, nor be confined to the house; I therefore 
would have been troubled with scruples had I received him. 
As to the watch, I spoke to him about it; but when I 
handed it to him he said that nothing further need be said 
about it. He said Mass for Ciorani up to Friday. 

On Thursday send me Father [Gerardo] Grassi, if he is 
there, or another Father to be the companion of Father 
Lorenzo [d Antonio] for the novena at S. Matteo. 1 Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Father D. Francesco 
Sav. Imperio, C. SS. R. 

LETTER 137. 

To the Same. 

Solicitude of the saint about the health of his subjects. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NAPLES, July 22, [1752?] 

In reference to Father D. Antonio [Tannoia], yes; do 
as you think fit; you may send him to Pagani. It will 
also be necessary to send to the same place Father Celestino 
[de Robertis] if his chest-trouble does not become better. 
But try, if possible, to send a little help to Pagani. See to it 
that the novices do not take too many bloody disciplines 
during this hot weather. Inquire whether the air of Iliceto 
might not be better for Father Antonio; but try Pagani 
first. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

1 San Matteo, a hamlet of Nocera, 



266 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Recommend me to the Blessed Virgin, etc. Live Jesus 
and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 



LETTER 138. 

To the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. 

Humility, but profound humility, is the true safeguard 
of perseverance. 

[July 27, 1752.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
My dearest Fathers and Brothers in Jesus Christ : 
I pray God to drive out quickly those proud spirits who 
cannot and who will not bear in the Congregation any 
reproof or slight, not only from Superiors, but even from 
their equals and their inferiors. And I beg of the Lord to 
drive me out the first if ever I should be led by this spirit 
of pride. See how this cursed spirit has driven Father 
Tortora 1 out of the Congregation : and I thank Jesus 
Christ for this, because such subjects ruin the Congregation 
and keep back from us the blessings of God. He that is 
not determined to be as earth, and to let himself be trodden 

1 Father Bernardo Tortora, born at Nocera de Pagani, entered 
the Congregation in 1743. The cause of his secession from the 
Congregation, which happened July 25, 1752, is given by Tannoia 
in his Life of the saint : " While living in the house at Ciorani, he 
took offence at a correction given him by the Rector, and without 
breathing a word, or communicating his temptation to any one, he 
set out for Pagani with the intention of laying the whole matter 
before St. Alphonsus. On the way his eyes were opened, and not 
having the courage to present himself, he retired to his own family, 
instead of going to one of our houses." Later on he became parish 
priest of the church of St. Felice at Pagani. 



1752.] Letter 138. 267 

under foot by all, let him go, and go quickly. Our Lord 
will be more pleased with the perseverance of two or three 
that are really humble and mortified, than with a thousand 
such imperfect subjects. And what have we come to do in 
the Congregation, if we do not wish to bear even some 
slight for the love of Jesus Christ? How shall we have the 
face to preach humility to so many people, when we our 
selves have such an abhorrence for humiliations? But since 
we are all miserable creatures, I beg each one of you 
and that your Reverences may the better remember what I 
now say, I even give you the obedience, to ask of the 
despised Jesus, every day during the meditation or thanks 
giving, the grace to bear contempt with peace and cheer 
fulness of spirit ; and the more fervent shall positively pray 
that Jesus may let them be despised for the love of him. And 
let him who will not make this prayer from his heart and 
with the desire of being heard fear lest his pride drive him 
out of the Congregation, in the same way as pride has 
already driven out more than one. 

Next, I earnestly recommend you never to talk among 
yourselves of the affairs and of the proceedings of the 
Superiors. Those that are led by this spirit of indiscreet 
zeal do much more harm than good to the Congregation. 
Those that are really zealous, when they perceive some 
disorder or want of observance, should tell it privately to 
the Admonitor of the house, or even inform the Rector 
Major of it; and if they perceive that even the Rector 
Major neglects to remedy it, they should speak or write to 
his Admonitor. Let all pay attention to this point, other 
wise they will cause me great displeasure, and will oblige me 
henceforward to mortify them severely. And let us be careful 
to guard against small faults, because the devil makes use 
of these little foxes to destroy the Spirit of God, and even 
our vocation. Therefore, my dear Brethren, let us always 



268 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

strengthen ourselves by meditation and prayer, otherwise 
we shall succeed in nothing. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
Your very affectionate confrere, 
ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.~\ I, the undersigned Rector Major, impose upon 
all the professed members of our Congregation or Society 
and give the formal precept of obedience to them not to 
leave any of our houses without the express permission 
of the local Superior, except when any one wishes to speak 
to the Rector Major or the Sovereign Pontiff: in this case 
he is yet obliged to ask the permission of the local Rector; 
but if he does not obtain it, he may set out, without 
however staying at any other place. 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

Rector Major. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 139. 

To Father Francesco Buonamano. 1 

He congratulates him on the detachment that he showed in 
regard to his relatives. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, September 16, [1752]. 

Your letter to Father Pentimalli has given me much con 
solation by acquainting me with the beautiful sentiments 

1 This excellent religious was born November 9, 1706. When 
forty-three years old he resolved to enter the Congregation, having 
been moved thereto by the holy life of Father Cesare Sportelli. 
After a novitiate of six months he made his profession in the 
presence of St. Alphonsus, August 5, 1750. He became an in 
defatigable missionary, and died in the peace of the Lord, March 4, 
1777, in the house at Ciorani. The journey to Ischia, of which 



1752.] Letter 140. 269 

with which you are animated in regard to your relatives ; 
I wish all were so disposed. I permitted Father Pentimalli 
to send you to Ischia, because I thought that you perhaps 
desired to go there ; but as your Reverence is unwilling, I 
repeat, I am consoled, and I do not tell you to go there. 
Remember me every day at your Mass. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I give you my blessing. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 140. 
To a Father of the Congregation. 

A great trial to which the Congregation is exposed. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NAPLES, Saturday 23, [September, 1752.] 

I am to remain here till Saturday a week. Next Thursday 
our affairs will be transacted. Let us pray to God that at 
least the houses may be left to us. Marquis Brancone has 
insinuated to me that I should give up two of them. How 
ever, if the houses are left to us, we shall be obliged in 
looking for revenues to abandon ourselves to the will 
of God ; for things will then go badly. But if we had not 
had Brancone we should perhaps be now dispossessed ; for 
in the last council the king spoke perhaps most strongly 
against us. Let us, therefore, be satisfied with the things 
as they are, and with the decrees of divine Providence. 

Communicate this to the other chorists according as 
prudence may dictate, in order that they may pray fervently 
during these days in which we are not yet out of danger. 
This morning I had a lively dispute with Brancone, and 
I am astonished that he is not tired of our affairs. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After an old copy unfortunately incomplete. 

mention is made in the letter was to have taken place on the occasion 
of the mission at Casamicciola, the native place of Father Buonamano. 



270 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 141. 
To the King of Naples. 

Petition to obtain the exequatur of the Apostolic Brief Ad 
Pastor -alls dignitatis fastigium a Brief given in confirmation 
of the Institute of the Most Holy Redeemer. 1 

[September, 1752.] 

Alfonso de Liguori, a Neapolitan priest, and his com 
panions, missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy 
Redeemer humbly represent to your Majesty, that it is 
already nineteen years that they are devoting themselves 
to the spiritual culture of the abandoned people in coun 
try places. They travel over the mountains, visit the 
huts of the shepherds and places most destitute of spiritual 
help, to instruct these poor people by missions, instructions 
and other devout exercises. They have now succeeded in 
giving about forty missions a year, in the space of at least 
nine months in the year, during which they consecrate 
themselves to this kind of work. The great and general 
good that is seen resulting from this work in many provinces 
of this kingdom where the missions have been given, has 
stimulated the zeal of some bishops and has induced them 
to introduce said Institute into their dioceses; thus it is 
established in the diocese of Salerno at Ciorani ; of Nocera 
at Pagani; in the diocese of Bovino at Iliceto; in that 
of Conza at Caposele. In each of these places the mission 
aries have their own house where they live together, and 
this is done with the consent of your Majesty who has even 
deigned by several royal decrees addressed to the civil 
tribunal to approve the great benefit of this work by 
applying to it the superfluous income of the laic chapels, an 
aid that could not be procured, as there was no income 
over and above the expenses that were incurred by them. 

1 This petition, as may be inferred from a letter of July 4, 1753, 
was not presented to the king, at least in this year. 



1752.] Letter 141. 271 

Then the number of the subjects having increased in this 
Congregation, in order to establish in perpetuity so great a 
good, a petition has been addressed by its members, as 
well as by the bishops of the dioceses above-mentioned, to 
the present Sovereign Pontiff, to obtain through his apostolic 
authority the confirmation and approbation of the Institute 
and of the Rule of this Congregation. And now after the 
information gathered by the Sacred Congregation of the 
Council, to which His Holiness intrusted this affair, there 
have been obtained, conformably to the wish of the examiners, 
the apostolic Brief of confirmation, which begins with these 
words : Ad Pastoralis dignitatis fastigium. No use, how 
ever has been made of this Brief, hoping that your Majesty 
would deign to grant the exequatur, as we hope to obtain 
by this petition. 

This is the reason why the undersigned humbly have 
recourse to the royal clemency, and beg your Majesty to 
grant them the favor of the said exequatur in order that in 
this kingdom may remain established this work which concerns 
so much the glory of God and the spiritual good of those 
subjects that are most abandoned. The latter are ignorant 
even of the most necessary things of faith, especially the 
shepherds who live in the territory of Puglia, belonging to 
the royal patrimony of your Majesty. The undersigned 
missionaries have also taken a house in this last mentioned 
Province in order to bestow every care upon those poor 
shepherds, the number of whom is about forty thousand. 

Confiding, therefore, in the great piety and zeal of your 
Majesty, the petitioners humbly present the Apostolic Brief 
and hope to obtain the favor that they solicit. 

After the original in possession of the Redemptorist Fathers 
of Vaals (Limbourg, Holland). 



272 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 142. 
To Mother Maria di Gesu, a Carmelite at Ripacandida. 

The saint recommends to her prayers Marquis Brancone 
on account of the resolution that the latter had formed. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 12, [1752]. 

We have run a great risk of seeing the Congregation 
completely dissolved; but by the grace of God the king 
afterwards honored us with a very favorable decree. Mar 
quis Brancone has strongly sustained our credit; please, 
my dear Mother, recommend him to God. I also beg you 
(this in confidence) to make a novena to his intention. He 
is filled with uncertainty ; there is question whether or not 
he should renounce his charge in order to devote himself to 
his own salvation by leading a private life. I have dissuaded 
him from this project; for the good of the Church requires 
that he should not give up his post. After the novena let 
me know with what the Lord J has inspired you. Recom 
mend me to Jesus Christ. 

1 From the following letter written by Brancone to the saint we 
can conjecture the reply of the saintly Prioress. 

NAPLES, February 10, 1753. 

Dearest Friend: Your letters, the one dated the 2gth of last 
month, and the other, the 4th of this month, filled me with con 
solation, for in them I read the proofs of your kindness and of the 
love which you bear me : I thank you with all my heart. 

I have read the letter of the Prioress of Ripacandida, which you 
kindly sent to me. Rest assured that I shall never communicate to 
any one what has been confided to me by you and by her. The 
letter showed me that she held with regard to my proposed step the 
same opinion that some other devout and learned persons hold. I 
adore the divine will which disposes of me in this manner, and I 
shall continue to bear my burden with the greatest devotion and 
cheerfulness, hoping that our Lord will deign to bless me. I have 






I752.J Letter 143. 273 

Let the Carmelites, the Dominicans, etc., and others, 
who ever they may be, come; do not deviate from that 
which I have written to you. Write to me about the 
doubts that you have ; but abridge your letter as much as 
possible. I knew that the Carmelite Father had forbidden 
you the daily Communion. I have created a noise about 
this with Monsignor (but say nothing about this). I know 
not what he will do. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 143. 
To a Friend. 

He thanks him for the interest that he takes in the Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 25, 1752. 

I have received your very dear letter, and I thank you 
for the great affection that you bear towards this poor little 

never refused to bear the burden, nor am I doing so now; but as I 
see how difficult it is to work out my eternal salvation, I grow 
despondent and my courage vanishes. For this reason I ask you 
and all your chosen souls to obtain for me from God better health 
that I may fulfill the duties of my office scrupulously and cheerfully. 
And as in your letters you spoke of the Prioress, Sister Maria di 
Gesu, as a pious servant of God, I feel a great desire to open a 
correspondence with her for my spiritual advantage; I hope to 
obtain this favor through you and through the bishop to whom she is 
subject. Hence, as soon as you approve of my wish, let me know 
where Ripacandida is situated, and whether the Prioress as a 
Carmelite is subject to the Provincial of the Carmelites or to the 
bishop. If the latter be the case, please tell me who the bishop is, 
adding at the same time what you know about the family of the 
Prioress and of the condition of the nuns in the monastery. I intend 
to do this under your direction and with your approval. 

I thank you for your prayers, and I beg you to continue them 

18 



274 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

flock of Jesus Christ in the midst of persecutions. The 
tempest that hell has raised against us is not a small affair ; 
but the Lord has turned it all to a good account; for the 
king who was at first somewhat against us, is now in our 
favor. It is true that in the decree some restrictions have 
been placed upon us; but we are satisfied with the result, 
because the work is now approved and established ; and 
this is most important. For the rest, if we remain poor, it 
is sure that as long as we conduct ourselves well, God will 
not fail us. I know that you have always been. our pro 
tector, and I hope that you will ever be so. I recommend 
myself to your prayers, and I wish you a happy new year, 
that is a year full of love for Jesus and Mary. I remain, 
etc. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 144. 
To Father Bernardo Apice,i at Caposele. 

He refuses to grant him permission to change his abode 
and tries to quiet him. 

[1752 or 1753.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I received a letter from Father Paolo [Cafaro] that I 
should send you to Iliceto. But I see that this is not the 
will of God, but a temptation of the devil who sees the 
good that you are doing in the place where you are. If you 
go to Iliceto what good will you do there ? Father Paolo 
says that all things appear to you to be black at Caposele. 

1 Father Bernardo Apice, born at Castellammare, December 21, 
1728, made his religious profession, January 6, 1748, and died 
September 9, 1769. He had therefore spent twenty-two years in 
apostolic labors, now in Naples, now in Sicily, where he was 
Rector for three years. Father Agostino Saccardi wrote the life 
of this saintly man, which was printed at Naples in the year 1816. 



I753-] Letter 145. 275 

But if you give yourself up entirely to obedience, they will 
all appear to you to be white. Hence I beg you to devote 
yourself to the doing of God s will, otherwise you will 
everywhere be full of disquietude. At least write to me what 
it is that troubles you in that house ; it may induce me to 
make a change; for so far I do not see what can be a 
sufficient reason for altering my views in your regard. My 
dear Bernardo, know that I have always wished, and do 
now wish, well to you. Be calm, for your disquietude 
will also be mine. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 145. 

To Mgr. Pasquale-Teodoro Basta, Bishop of MelfU 
Confidential letter in regard to the ordination of a subject. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, February 10, 1753. 

Right Reverend and Dear Sir: I ask your Lordship to 
read this letter privately, and then to destroy it. 

Don Angelo Antonio Grazioli 2 is anxious that I should 
ask your Lordship to confer upon him during this Lent the 
last two sacred Orders. In regard to the interstices, he 
would himself, he says, ask the necessary dispensation at 

1 Born at Monteparano (diocese of Taranto) April 26, 1711, he 
was appointed Bishop of Melfi, January 9, 1748, and occupied this 
see till the beginning of the year 1766. 

2 Born at Atella (diocese of Melfi) June 13, 1724, he took the 
habit of our Congregation November 12, 1759, an d made profession 
November 21, 1760. He was probably the son of Don Benedetto 
Grazioli, a distinguished benefactor of the Institute, who is often 
mentioned in the letters of St. Alphonsus. 



276 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Rome. I therefore write to you on this subject; but for 
the rest, your Lordship may do what you think will be best 
before God. 

As for the foundation, 1 I beg you, Monsignor, not to 
take any steps before we have had an understanding with 
each other ; for a favorable moment must be chosen if we 
do not wish to risk ruining both the foundation and the 
Congregation. 2 

With respect to Don Angelo Antonio, be so kind as to 
write me a letter which I may give him to read ; but do not 
say, I beg you, that I wrote to you so dryly. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
Begging your blessing, 
I remain your Lordship s, 

very humble, devoted, and grateful servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After the original preserved at the cathedral of Melfi. 

LETTER 146. 
To Mother Maria di Gesu, a Carmelite at Ripacandida. 

He refuses to allow a Father of the Congregation to be 
extraordinary confessor, and exhorts her to remain firm in 
the defence of regular observance. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, February 23, [1753]. 

I answer your two letters. I rejoice that you are laboring 
to re-establish regular observance. Continue, and be firm. 
In reference to your doubts, recommend yourself to Jesus 
Christ, and go ahead. 

1 There was question of making a foundation at Rionero (see 
Letter 127). 

2 The Congregation was then exposed to various persecutions on 
the part of the civil government because of pretended acquisitions. 



I753-J Letter 146. 277 

As for your request that you make to me to grant you 
Father Fiocchi as extraordinary confessor two or three 
times a year, how can I consent, since that is expressly 
forbidden by our Rule? What! do you wish me to be 
driven out of the Congregation? If the consultors hear 
that I am introducing such an abuse against the Rule, they 
may expel me. I highly esteem your monastery and your 
Rule; but I cannot do what is against our Rule. You 
know how difficult it is to remove an abuse when it has 
once been introduced; I hope to be able to die with the 
consciousness of never having permitted any. If I should 
grant to your monastery what you ask, I could not refuse it 
to others, or at least, the Superiors that come after me 
would grant it after my example; and thus you see the 
Fathers would give up the missions in order to become 
extraordinary confessors and to give retreats to religious. 
I should be very glad if you would make this clear to the 
bishop, whom I very much esteem, and to whom I regret 
to be obliged to refuse anything. 

The answer that I am now giving you will appear without 
doubt very harsh ; but I should wish that you were in my 
place. If you were Rector Major you would speak as I do. 
I know by experience what fine things I have been obliged 
to hea r from my confreres when I have given any permission 
that was against the Rule, though there was question 
of matters by no means so important as this. You may 
also write to Father Fiocchi ; you will see that his answer 
will be like mine. May this, however, not prevent you 
from recommending me to Jesus Christ, just as I do not 
omit to pray for you and for all your Sisters. 

I do not answer separately the letter that Sister Maria 
Cherubina has written to me ; but as there are no secrets 
between you and her, I here say to her as well as to you, 
and to all the other fervent religious : Be firm like a rock ; 
answer resolutely the bishop, the Carmelite Father, and all 
18* 



278 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

the others, that you have made profession according to the 
Rule of St. Teresa ; that you wish to observe it punctually, 
ad literam [to the letter] ; and that no one can exempt you 
from it. The Carmelite Father will speak perhaps in this 
manner, because the Rule has been mitigated for the nuns 
of his observance ; answer that you do not wish to follow 
the Rule of these religious, but the Rule of St. Teresa. 
Remain firm ; Jesus and Mary will sustain you. 

You should do this yourselves, because Father Fiocchi 
cannot place himself in opposition to the bishop ; but you 
yourselves can well do this when there is question of defending 
regular observance. You have scarcely begun, and you 
already wish to have your Rule mitigated ! But if the Rule 
is now mitigated, what will become of the Rule fifty years 
hence? Indeed, poor religious are those that ask for a 
mitigation of the Rule ! I pity them ; for they will have to 
render an account to God not only about themselves, but 
about all the others. I pray you, be firm ! If you think 
fit, you may communicate these my sentiments to the others. 
If you were to inform me that the rigor of the Rule has 
been relaxed, you would make me lose all the affection that 
I entertain for this monastery, which I at present esteem so 
much. Tell Sister Maria Cherubina that she should in 
cessantly raise her voice against the Carmelite Father, who 
is trying to bring about a mitigation ; let her have no 
scruple in this respect. Of what use is it to look for 
directors and to ask for Father Fiocchi? It is your Rule 
that should direct you ; keep your Rule, and you will all 
become saints. 

As for me, I will see what I can do in this matter. At 
all events, banish from your mind the idea of having 
Father Fiocchi twice or three times a year as your extra 
ordinary confessor : that is impossible ; it is forbidden to us 
to exercise this function even once, outside of the time 
of the mission. 



I753-] Letter 1 47. 279 

Write about this to Father Fiocchi, and tell him also to 
write to me about it. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 147. 
To the Same. 

Signs of illusion. How to act in reference to extraordinary 
graces. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, March 28, [1753]. 

I have received your last letter through your brother. 
Relatively to the direction by Father Fiocchi, I am satisfied 
with the sensible and holy answer that you have given me ; 
for you may rest assured that what I do not do for your 
soul, I would certainly not do for any other. Moreover, I 
cheerfully permit that Father Fiocchi should answer all 
your doubts, and I shall also allow him to call upon you 
sometimes. 

As regards what you add, namely, that you are in great fear 
and uncertainty, and that several Fathers tell you that you 
are laboring under an illusion and that you are in error, I 
am more glad to hear this than that you raised ten dead 
persons to life. All this gives me the assurance that you 
are not under an illusion nor in error. Persons that are led 
astray by illusions fully believe in their errors ; but you fear 
illusion, and this is a sign that you are not deceived. Pray 
therefore to Jesus Christ to preserve you in this fear, if it 
contributes to his glory. I moreover, in the name of Jesus 
Christ, command you to dilate your heart towards God, 
and act as you did before, with liberty and great confidence. 
I assure you that you are neither deceiving yourself nor are 



280 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

you deceived. Receive with affection and without fear the 
lights and the marks of tenderness that the Lord gives to 
your soul ; and in future banish all fears as temptations, 
whatever others may have said and still say to you. 

Those directors had the best intention in speaking thus to 
you, since they have followed the general rule which re 
quires that favored souls should be humbled and kept down 
lest they fall into pride. This rule, however, does not 
apply to your soul. You are not going to boast of ecstasies 
or of prophesies. You are not going to publish to the first one 
that you meet what concerns you, as others do, whereby 
they certainly give rise to the suspicion that they are under 
illusions, and that they are deceiving others. I know that 
you do not speak except in case of necessity, when you ask 
aid and counsel. 

On the other hand, God gives you enough light to know 
what you are, and what you merit because of your defects 
and your miseries. Is there, then, any reason why you 
should be deceived by the devil ? What ! the devil ! No, 
no; it is God who keeps himself near you and around you, 
because he wishes you to belong entirely to him. Hence 
when he removes the veil to speak to you by communicating 
to you his lights, begin by humbling yourself when you see 
him granting such favors to so ungrateful a soul ; abase 
yourself by considering your nothingness; then, confiding 
in the mercy and infinite goodness of the Sovereign Good, 
abandon yourself as a dead person to his tender arms, 
and receive with gratitude and affection all the lights 
and all the other favors that he lavishes upon your soul. 
May they cause you to humble yourself still more, and to 
redouble your zeal and fidelity in his holy love. I also 
recommend to you, when God leaves you alone and does 
not bestow upon you any caresses, not to complain either 
interiorly or exteriorly, not to become disquieted on account 
of their absence, nor to seek them, because there may be 



I753-] Letter i- 281 



some illusion in this search. Henceforth, I repeat, do not 
be disturbed about what is said of you ; as an answer, say 
within yourself: I wish only God, and then remain quiet. 
Uneasiness suits only the soul that seeks everything else but 
God. 

Preserve this letter in order to derive strength from it 
when others again disturb you. If anything particular 
happens to you write me briefly the substance of it ; I shall 
then steal a moment, as I do now, to answer you ; yet only 
in a few words, as I have not a moment s time. Furthermore, 
I beg you not to raise so many doubts, and not to wish to 
know in everything whether or not it is God that speaks, as 
this solicitude may injure you. With God, with this 
infinite Goodness, we must walk quite simply and honestly. 
Do therefore what you think is best, and move onward. 

In meditation, if you experience dryness, always sustain 
yourself by prayer and by continual offerings of yourself to 
God ; but as soon as the Lord speaks to you, abstain from 
speaking, and open your soul to receive all that he has to 
communicate to you. In all your prayers remember my 
soul. Never forget to recommend the souls in purgatory 
and poor sinners. Pray especially for Naples, where it is 
said there are many atheists who deny the existence of God ; 
remember them as well as our Congregation. Take courage ! 
God is with you. Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea; 
quern timebo? [The Lord is my light and my salvation, 
whom shall I fear? Ps. xxvi. i.] May Jesus be our love 
and Mary our hope ! I am having printed a little work on 
the "Manner of Conversing with God:" I shall send it to 
you. 

[P. S.~\ One word more. I have written to the bishop 
to ask him to give you permission to answer Brancone. 
If he gives you permission, answer the Marquis that you do 
not forget to recommend him to God without ceasing, in 
order that the Lord may give him the necessary light and 



282 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

strength to walk on the right road by defending the interests 
of the Church in the position that he occupies; and you 
must encourage him. It matters little that his letter was 
lost ; for it contained nothing more than a request that you 
should recommend him to God. Answer him then, as I 
have indicated, if you receive permission, without saying 
that his letter was lost. You may say without scruple : / 
answer your letter, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 148. 
To Father Carmine Fiocchi 1 in Lacedogna. 

He speaks to him about some missions that he wishes him 
to give. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, April 2. [1753?] 

Mgr. [Antonio Manerba, Bishop] of S. Angelo wrote to 
me for a mission to be given after Easter; I wrote back to 

1 Father D. Carmine Fiocchi was born June 13, 1721, at Caiano, in the 
diocese of Salerno of respectable and virtuous parents. At an early age 
he was a model of fervor. Prayer was his delight, and so desirous was 
he of doing penance that his mother was obliged to take from him 
the instruments of mortification with which he tortured his innocent 
body. When he reached the proper age, his parents sent him to 
Naples where he might receive an education suitable to his birth 
and fortune. There in the course of his studies, in which he 
distinguished himself, he remained steadfast in piety, so that his 
beautiful soul, full of the love of Jesus Christ well understood how 
to despise the vain allurements of the world. Having entered the 
seminary of Salerno, young Fiocchi soon after received subdeacon- 
ship . Anxious however to belong to God without reserve , he 
aspired to the religious life, and after having prayed much, his 
choice fell upon the Congregation of St. Alphonsus. He then wrote 
to the holy founder who, after examining his vocation, wrote to him 
that it came from God, that God wished him to belong entirely to 



1753- J Letter 148. 283 

him that I would serve him ; but his nephew again wrote 
that the affair would be spoken of when Monsignor returned 
home. See therefore that the time of this mission be fixed 
for the Sunday in Albis [Low Sunday] ; because if the date 
is not acceptable, we shall have to go to Frigenti and then 
to Fontanarosa, as I have promised Mgr. [Felice Leoni, 

Him, and finally that the resolution that he had formed should be at 
once put in execution. 

Animated by these words the fervent seminarian hastened to Ciorani 
to make his novitiate. His parents, notwithstanding their piety, 
were in consternation on account of his departure, and so much 
were they moved by their affection for flesh and blood that they 
applied to the civil authorities to aid them in their design. The 
authorities arrogating to themselves the right of sustaining such 
unjust pretensions, ordained that the novice should be shut up in a 
convent at Salerno , there to examine and to prove better his 
vocation. But with God s help the young man triumphed over all 
obstacles and had finally the satisfaction of being able to return to 
the novitiate, where he made his religious profession in the presence 
of St. Alphonsus, May 8, 1744. 

After he had become a priest, he was destined for the work of the 
missions. The success that he met with was wonderful. Without 
any fear of exaggeration it may be asserted that he was one of the 
greatest missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy Re 
deemer. During the thirty years that he spent in this laborious 
ministry, he led back to God innumerable sinners, sanctified 
the clergy of many dioceses , and re-kindled fervor in a great 
number of monasteries. He was only twenty-eight years of age 
when he was called to be the Superior of the house at Pagani; and 
in 1750, after the death of Father Sportelli, St. Alphonsus appointed 
him to be one of the three General-Consultors. 

All the virtues of a religious shone brilliantly in Father Fiocchi. 
But he distinguished himself above all by his fervor in prayer, his 
spirit of mortification, his love for Mary Immaculate and for his 
devotion to our Blessed Mother of the Seven Dolors. Then the love 
that he felt for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was without a 
parallel: when he offered the Holy Sacrifice he resembled a seraph. 
This worthy son of St. Alphonsus went to his eternal repose in 1776, 
while sweetly invoking the name of Mary. Four years after his 
death his body was found incorrupt. 



284 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Bishop] of Avellino. And then in Avellino itself, that is, in 
the diocese of this name, we should have to proceed to 
Villamaiana and S. Stefano. 

We shall have to repair to Trevico and Flumari, which 
have also been promised. Take as many subjects as you 
can from Caposele and Iliceto, and I will send you others 
from this place ; you most divide them between Trevico and 
Flumari, since the spring is short. You must, therefore, 
write at once and appoint the time, so that all may be 
prepared when you arrive. The first mission will begin in 
Dominica in Albis [Low Sunday]. Give my regards to 
Don Michelangelo Colabella, and tell him that I have 
recommended him to the Madonna. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

At Naples I have obtained important favors for the Con 
gregation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Father Francesco Sa- 
verio Pecorelli, C. SS. R. 

LETTER 149. 
To the Novice Pietro Angelo Picone, 1 at Ciorani. 

He consoles him and admits him to religious profession. 

[The beginning of June, 1753.] 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

My Son: I have learned from your letter and I had 
already heard before, that the doctor has said that your 

1 Pietro Picone, cousin of Father Carmine Picone, born May 24, 
1733 arid admitted to the novitiate June 21, 1752, fell ill during the 
last months of his novitiate. The malady appearing serious, the 
Superiors wished to send him for some time to Manicalciati, his 
native place. This determination was the occasion of great sadness 



I753-] Letter 149. 285 

native air may do you good, and I have acquiesced in the 
desire that you have in regard to your health. For the 
rest, you have not given me any cause for complaint, and 
since you do not care about going to your native country, I 
am satisfied if you go for a change of air to any one of our 
houses. I have already ordered that you should be sent to 
our house at Caposele whence if the air does you no good you 
may pass to the house of Iliceto ; and I desire nevertheless 
(tell them about it) that about July or August they may 
allow you to take the waters of Monticchio. I am moreover 
satisfied that on the feast of St. Louis you should make the 
vows, since you so ardently desire to do so. You see now 
whether I wish to drive you out of the Congregation. 

During your illness do not apply yourself much to study. 
Take care of your health, go out walking in the mornings, 
do what the doctor says, and pray every day for me. I 
will not make you stay either here or at Ciorani, because 
the air of these two places has not benefited you. Let us 
see what other climates will do for you. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

to the pious youth, since this departure for home had the appearance 
of dismissal from the Congregation. He therefore wrote a long 
letter to the holy founder, entreating him not to send him away 
from the house of God. The saint sent him the foregoing letter. 
Pietro Picone made his profession in the presence of Father Paolo 
Cafaro at Caposele, on the day indicated in the answer of St. 
Alphonsus, and died a holy death in the same house at Caposele, in 
the month of November of the following year. 



286 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 150. 

To a Superior of the Congregation. 
Change of abode of two subjects. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

June 25 .... 

Write to Signor Nicola Santoriello at Caposele and ask 
him to send to Iliceto the young tailor Nicola, as I learn 
that he has recovered. Then write to Iliceto that they 
should send to Pagani either Nicola or Brother Romualdo, 
whichever of the two needs most to go there for his health. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! I remain, etc. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 151. 
To Mother Angiola of Divine Love, 1 a Carmelite at Capua. 

He asks her to use her influence with the Queen of Naples 
to obtain the approbation of the Institute of the Most Holy 
Redeemer. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, July 4, [1753]. 

I have received your most esteemed favor, and I first 
thank you for the remembrance that you have kept of me, 
and then for the recommendations that you have made for 
me. You are right, my dear Mother ; it is not prudent to 
present the Brief if circumstances are not favorable. 

I have suffered from pains of the body, especially from 
headache ; yet I have never forgotten to recommend you. 

1 Mother Angiola, the penitent of the saint in the world, had 
founded the reformed Carmelite convent at Capua. The Queen 
of Naples, Maria Amalia Walburga, frequented this convent and 
expressed a great regard for the saintly foundress. 



I753-] Letter 1 5 1. .287 

every day at Mass. On your part, I beg you, continue to 
recommend me to our Lord that he may make me entirely 
his. That is the important thing. For the rest, and in 
regard to the approbation, God will provide. 

However, my dear Mother, when the Queen arrives at 
Caserta, do not forget what I wrote to you in my last 
letter. 

The whole difficulty rests upon the acquisition of property. 
His Majesty the king may do in regard to this whatever he 
wishes ; we shall accept anything. If the king wishes that 
we should never be allowed to possess anything and that 
the bishop should only be permitted to furnish us with some 
alms, he has but to command, and we will obey. It is 
sufficient that he gives us the approbation and that he does 
not thus leave us in suspense. If the king knew that we 
were making this proposition, I believe that he would be 
appeased, seeing that we do not wish to possess anything. 
But who will make this proposition to him? If I could 
speak to him, I would do so ; but the king grants no 
audience. I have tried to have an interview, and the thing 
was impossible. But the Queen can speak to him if she 
wishes. Enough. When the moment comes I beg you to 
submit to the Queen this proposition. 

I continue to hope, my dear Mother, that our dear Lord 
will use your intervention to establish this work destined to 
save so many abandoned souls. Who knows whether God 
has not disposed this favor of the Queen not only for the 
benefit of your reform, but also for the success of all that is 
undertaken for his glory ! However, if you think that the 
glory of God is not concerned in our approbation, I will 
not ask that you should any more speak of this affair. 
Now I think, and I always say, that the Lord wishes to 
mortify my pride, and that this approbation will not be 
obtained before my death. Dominus cst : quod est bonum 
in oculis suis, hoc faciat. [It is the Lord: let him do what 



288 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

is good in his sight. i Kings, iii. 18.] May Jesus and 
Mary not cease to diffuse over us their blessings. 
Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 152. 

To Sister Anna Camilla de Leoni, in the Monastery of the 
Most Holy Saviour at Ariano. 

He exhorts her to bear her interior trials courageously, 
and writes out for her a rule of conduct. 

NOCERA, July 5, 1753. 

Modic<z fidei, qua dubitasti? [O thou of little faith, 
why didst thou doubt? Matt. xiv. 31.] It is nothing, it 
is nothing, it is nothing. I even assure you that God loves 
you now more tenderly than ever. You fear on account 
of the things about which you speak to me; and I fear that 
the Lord, to punish your pusillanimity, will not make the 
trial cease to which he has put you in order to make you 
entirely his. I assure you on my conscience that you are 
in favor with God, you love God and God loves you. 
If you could see, while you are reading my letter, the love 
which he who is the infinite Good bears you, you would die 
with joy. 

I see from the tone of your letter that God in his goodness 
wishes to raise you to a sublime state of love. Do not 
place any obstacle in the way. And do not believe that the 
obstacle comes from the multitude of sins which frighten 
you, as you say, and which you call the sins of hatred 
of God and of the Sisters who speak of God, the displeasure 
of -being a Christian, the desire of being damned, the wish 
of calling the devil to your aid. Do not positively make 
any account of those thoughts, desires, temptations against 



I753-] Letter 1 52. 289 

faith or against any other matter; do not by any means 
confess them, and always receive Communion, notwith 
standing all those incitements to despair, and however 
horrible may appear to you those desires; for in all this 
you commit no fault. If you had not committed any sins 
in the past, you would be at this moment as innocent as a 
child. In order to commit a sin there must be full pleasure 
and the full consent of the will; you, on the contrary, 
detest these things, although the darkness, the trouble, and 
the aridity in which you are make you believe that you are 
giving consent. The obstacle which in my opinion you can 
put in the way of your spiritual progress is your importunity 
in praying to God to deliver you from these troubles. You 
do not feel the love of God ; but thank God that you have 
it ; if you did not possess it, God would not make you feel 
the pain that you have, I wish to say, the fear in which 
you now are of offending him or of having lost his friend 
ship. The more desperate you feel, the greater confidence 
you should have. Honor this infinite Goodness by taking 
as the measure of your confidence in him the greatness 
of the chastisements of which you acknowledge yourself to 
be worthy. Nullus speravit in Domino, et confusus est. 
[No one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded. 
Ecclus. ii. ii.] 

I send you this little work. Keep a copy of it for 
yourself; give one to the abbess ; put another in the choir 
for any one that may wish to read it. Read a little every 
day out of this book. But let us proceed to what you should 
do in the state in which you are. 

First, humble yourself before God, and acknowledge 
yourself worthy of every chastisement. Then, as I have told 
you, far from asking to get rid of this state, offer yourself to 
remain therein your whole life and through all eternity if so 
God wills. Ask him only to help you to avoid every fault, 
particularly tedium and little resignation to the divine will. 
19 



290 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Cast yourself like one that is dead into the amiable embrace 
of Jesus, your Redeemer, by assuring him unceasingly that 
he can do with you what he pleases, provided you love him 
and are pleasing to him. Say to him : O Lord, here I am ! 
I no longer belong to myself, I belong to Thee ; do with 
me as Thou wishest. I care not for pains, provided they 
procure Thy glory. I do not desire consolations ; it suffices 
if I belong to Thee and love Thee. Then, rejoice and be 
consoled by remembering that the infinite Good, the object 
of your love, is infinitely happy. 

Secondly, while in this state guard against giving up 
your exercises, and particularly Communion. Even ask 
your confessor, under the pretext of making some novenas, 
to increase if possible the number of your Communions 
while you are under this trial. As for the apprehensions 
of which I have spoken , namely , the hatred of God, 
despair, incredulity, etc., do not confess them. And when 
you call upon your confessor, let not this be in order to 
seek for consolations, but only to obtain strength in your 
trials. In the state in which you are, take care to obey 
punctually, and show the same obedience to the Superiors 
of the monastery. In this kind of trial all must be done 
forcibly and against one s will ; but in this is found the good 
pleasure of God. 

Thirdly, have recourse to the comforter of the afflicted, 
the Blessed Virgin by saying to her: My good Mother, 
have pity on me! As for prayer and thanksgiving after 
Communion, do not trouble yourself if you find yourself 
distracted, sick and tired, and if you think that by your 
thoughts you are displeasing God rather than pleasing him. 
It suffices that you simply say from time to time: My God, 
my Jesus, it is Thee alone whom I wish, and nothing more. 
And it is sufficient if you say this with the superior part 
of the will, without any sentiment; say it by the glance 



I753-] Letter 153. 291 

of the eye at the crucifix, at heaven, or at the Blessed 
Sacrament ; and that will be sufficient. 

Fourthly, do violence to yourself so that you may not 
show melancholy in the presence of the Sisters. Try to 
appear joyful as much as possible, and be obliging to 
every one; and if some impatient words should escape you, 
do not trouble yourself; for in the state in which you are 
God will have greater compassion on you. 

In the midst of these trials, recommend my poor soul to 
Jesus Christ, for these trials render you dearer to his heart, 
and he most willingly hears your prayers. Courage ! be 
without fear. God wishes you all to himself. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



LETTER 153. 
To the Master of Novices. 

He should employ kindness and discretion towards the 
novices. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I beg you to treat N. with great kindness. He must 
remain in the novitiate like a novice ; but he must accuse 
himself with the other professed. Tell him that he is a 
member of the Congregation, because this is a sore temptation 
to him. Endeavor to encourage him. 

Now that the hot weather is coming, moderate the exer 
cises of the novices; let them go out often and diminish 
their application ; for we see how all become ill. Let them 
gradually copy the exercises of the missions, and see to it 



292 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

that they learn by heart at least two or three exhortations. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 154. 
To Father Andrea Villani, Rector of the House at Ciorani. 

The saint acquaints him with the serious illness of Father 
Paolo Cafaro, and asks his prayers for the latter s recovery. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 5, [1753]- 

Gloria Patri! Father Paolo Cafaro is very ill. Read 
this letter and return it to me. There is great need 
of fervent prayer. I have asked for prayers at Scala and at 
all the monasteries of this part of the country. You and 
all the others will please say ten Masses for Father Paolo ; I 
shall do the same here; begin a novena with a litany. 
Please say for nine evenings three times the Our Father, 
the Hail Mary and Gloria Patri, in honor of the Most 
Holy Trinity for the favors granted to the archpriest of 
Ripacandida, 1 and to solicit the recovery of the sick man 
through the merits of this servant of God. Please send 
immediately the same request for prayers to the mon 
asteries of Solofra, Saragnano, S. Giorgio, and Penta, 
as soon as you can do so conveniently, but it would please 
me very much if you wrote to Solofra immediately. 

Write to Iliceto to tell them to begin the novena together 

1 Don Giambattista Rossi, archpriest of Ripacandida and founder 
of the discalced Carmelites there, died with the reputation of a 
saint, in the fifty-sixth year of his age, in the year 1746. Many 
miracles were wrought through his intercession. The Life of this 
great servant was printed in the year 1752 and dedicated to His 
Holiness, Benedict XIV. One of the sisters of Rossi Jived at 
Pescopagano ; and for this reason, St. Alphonsus in the following 
letter advises Father Giovenale to seek for relics of Don Rossi at 
Ripacandida. 



I753-] Letter 155. 293 

with the ten Masses ; let them make the novena also for 
[Marquis] Brancone. 

I wish you could come here to-morrow, or Wednesday 
or Thursday, to settle several points. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After a copy. 

LETTER 155. 

To Father Francesco Giovenale,! Minister of the House 
at Caposele. 

Prayers prescribed for the recovery of Father Cafaro. - 
Triple obedience imposed on the sick man. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 6, [1753]. 

May God be ever blessed and may his holy will be done ! 
You did well in sending for Cappuccio 2 and also for 
Boegio. 3 This sickness is probably a coagulation of blood 
and the effect of an epidemic that is perhaps prevalent 
among you ; hence I think a cold water treatment would be 
beneficial. For the rest, I frankly admit, I am not a doctor. 
The illness is becoming very serious. Prayers are needed. 
I have already requested prayers to be said at the convent 
at Scala and at different monasteries of the neighborhood. 
Please ask the monastery and the town of Calitri to say the 
litanies of the Madonna; you might also ask at Guardia 
and at Pescopagano, where Father Paolo [Cafaro] lately 

1 Father D. Francesco Giovenale, born at Lacedogna, February 6, 
1719, entered the Congregation in 1747, and after a virtuous life 
died at S. Angelo a Cupolo, June 16, 1782. 

2 The archpriest of Lacedogna Don Domenico Antonio Cappuccio 
was from the year 1748 one of the penitents of Father Cafaro. 

3 Another penitent of Father Cafaro. 

19* 



294 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

gave missions. Besides the novena to the Madonna (which 
you are to say also for Marquis Brancone, as I promised 
him) you will also say ten Masses for Don Paolo s recovery ; 
I have ordered the other houses to do the same ; and during 
nine days, recite three times the Our Father, Hail Mary, 
and Gloria Patri in honor of the Most Holy Trinity, in 
order that Father Paolo may receive his health through the 
merits of the archpriest of Ripacandida, Giambattista Rossi, 
who works so many miracles. If perhaps you have some 
relic of this holy priest, apply it to the sick man ; if you 
have none, try to procure one at Pescopagano. 

As for Father Paolo, as soon as he has recovered from 
his stupor, please read to him these three points which I 
give him : 

" I, Alfonso, as your Superior, taking the place of Jesus 
Christ, give you the obedience and command you to calm 
yourself and to believe with all confidence that you are in 
the state of grace, and that God in his infinite Goodness 
loves you dearly. If the Lord calls you to the other life, 
do not forget to recommend to him the Congregation and 
my own miserable self. 

" In the second place, I command you to ask from God 
your cure, if it be for his glory, in order that you may 
serve him with greater fervor and zeal. 

" In the third place, I give you the obedience from our 
Most Holy Redeemer to get well if it be for the glory 
of God." 

This is for Father Paolo. 

I am writing to-day to Naples and am telling Father 
Margotta to go to your house. 

I should gladly send Father Mazzini but I will not do so, 
for I fear the epidemic which I think is at present prevalent 
there. It is not good to risk the life of this good Father, 
who God knows is in a poor condition and is using remedies. 

Please tell Father Paolo when he is well to let me know 






I753-] Letter 156. 295 

what he saw and heard in that dream of which Father 
Picone spoke. 

You may easily imagine the affliction in which we are ; 
hence I ask you to let me know how Father Paolo is getting 
along after the obedience that I have given him. 

You and all should earnestly pray to Jesus Christ and to 
our Mother Mary; say the litanies in the church, morning 
and evening. 

I bless you all ; let us resign ourselves entirely to the will 
of God, if we wish to obtain graces. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 156. 
To Father Francesco Margotta, at Naples. 

He informs Father Margotta of Father Cafaro s illness. - 
He asks him to return to Caposele. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 6, [1753]. 

Blessed be God forever! We are plunged into new 
afflictions. A messenger came yesterday from Caposele 
with the sad news that Father Cafaro has a very malignant 
fever accompanied by a certain stupor, so that they were 
obliged on the second day of the attack to blister him. 
They wrote to me that they would like to have your 
Reverence return to them. I say that you for the present 
may regulate your movements according to the business 
that you have in hand. 1 

1 Father Margotta as Procurator-General of the Congregation 
spent the greater part of his time at Naples, to transact the affairs 
of the Institute. 



296 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

I say, for the present, for if Father Paolo grows worse, 
it will be necessary for you to go to Caposele. 

Let the Brother [Francesco Tartaglione] take with him 
to Don Giovanni Oliviero the enclosed fifteen ducats which 
I am sending him. 

May the divine will be ever done! Judge how much 
concerned we are for Father Paolo. Pray and have all 
prayers possible said in one or the other monastery. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of the priest D. Antonio d 
Amico at Molina di Vietri in the diocese of Cava. 

LETTER 157. 

To Father Francesco Giovenale. 
Recommendation in regard to Father Cafaro s illness. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[NOCERA], August 9, [1753]. 

May God s will be always done! If God calls Father 
Paolo to himself you will have to govern the house, and in 
the mean time I shall be thinking of sending you another 
Rector. 

If Father Paolo should die, put off his funeral oration 
until we are able to gather from Cava 1 and other places the 
necessary particulars. However, I have not ceased to 
place my hope in Mary, my good Mother. I hear that 
water has been given to him, but I did not yet learn that 
oil of almonds had been administered to him. 

You may imagine how r great is our affliction; I am, 
especially so afflicted, that I have become like one stupefied. 
Yet I have not lost all hopes that our Mother will leave him 
among us for the glory of her Son. 

1 Father Cafaro was a native of Cava. 



I753-] Letter 158. 297 

If he dies, tell Apice l to send me the particulars that he 
has gathered. I shall afterwards send him the rest. If the 
sick man should happen to become better, send me at once 
a messenger. I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

If Father Paolo is still alive, tell him from me to hear 
with submission what I impose on him in the name of 
obedience ; then, whether he regains his senses or not give 
him the obedience that I have sent you. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 158. 
To the Same. 

Sentiments of resignation to the will of God inspired by the 
death of Father Cafaro. 2 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 14, [1753]. 

May the divine will be adored and fulfilled forever! 
God s will is our will. Father Paolo will assist us more in 
heaven than on earth. We must now be resigned; God 
wishes this of us, and we must obey. 

You may bury him apart from the other graves; you 

1 Father Bernardo Apice. 

2 Father Paolo Cafaro, born at Cava July 5, 1707, was admitted to 
religious profession July 2, 1741, and died August 13, 1753. At his 
death, St. Alphonsus, adoring the divine judgments, expresses the 
feelings of his heart in a celebrated little hymn on the will of God, 
that begins with the following words : 

II tuo gusto, e non il mio 
Amo solo in te, mio Dio. 
Voglio solo, o mio Signore, 
Cio che vuol la tua bonta. 
Quanto degna sei d amore, 
O divina Volonta, 



298 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

may also deliver the funeral sermon if you think fit. Send 
out invitations that there may be many present. After 
Father Apice a has finished the funeral oration, please send 
it here that we may also deliver one. 

Let your Reverence, as I have already said, act as 
Superior for the present; I shall send a Rector afterwards. 
Send me all Father Paolo s manuscripts for safe-keeping. 
If then you should wish for any one of his sermons, you 
may write to me and I shall then send it. 

As for Father Paolo s picture, if you are not able to 
procure one that is well done, we have a good one here. 
We could then take this for a model. 

Send me, I repeat, all his manuscripts and memorandum 
books and a small piece of his habit. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

I have already determined the Rector for your house ; it 
is Father Giovanni Mazzini, and God knows what pain it 
causes me to send him away to please your Archbishop 
[of Conza]. Now send a Brother with a mule for the 
journey . Have confidence, great confidence ! Father Paolo 
has to do more for us above than he could do while here 

( Tis Thy good pleasure, not my own, 

In Thee, my God, I love alone ; 

And nothing I desire of Thee 

But what Thy goodness wills for me. 

O will of God ! O will divine ! 

All, all our love be ever Thine.) 

In the year 1767, the saint published a short sketch of the life 
of Father Cafaro. 

On the death of Mgr. Falcoia Father Cafaro became the spiritual 
director of our saint, who, as appears from his journal, afterwards 
asked Father Andrea Villani to fill that position. The words of the 
journal are as follows : " All the obediences given by Father Paolo 
and by other directors have been confirmed by Father Andrea, this 
day, August 15, I753-" 

1 The funeral oration by Father Bernardo Apice is preserved in 
the archives of Father General at Rome. 






I753-] Letter 159. 299 

below. He has to obtain for us the exequatur, but quickly, 
quickly. 

Write me the particulars of his death ; let Father Apice 
send me a detailed account. I embrace you all in Jesus 
Christ, hoping that you may all die as Father Paolo died. 
Now let us become saints, let us observe the Rule strictly. 
These deaths are warnings for us. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of the priest Don Francesco 
Apice. 

LETTER 159. 
To the Same. 

He should govern the Community at Caposele till the 
arrival of the new Rector. Various measures. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 21, [1753]. 

I have been wishing to send Father Giovanni [Mazzini] ; 
but the news spread in regard to your surroundings is so 
frightful that I cannot make up my mind to expose this 
excellent subject to any dangers. 

I have received the manuscripts, but I regret that the 
instructions on the virtues have been lost. See whether 
some one has them, and try to recover the instructions 
given at Melfi. 

In the mean time do the best you can, and when all 
danger is over and there is no suspicion of it, you may send 
for Father Giovanni. 

As for the picture, we shall have it made. 

Your Reverence may keep Father Paolo s crucifix, donee 
aliter provide atur [till otherwise provided.] 

See to it that regular observance be maintained : exhort, 



300 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

beg, but do not give penances, unless it be to the lay- 
brothers. 

As for Brother Nicola, we must think of sending him 
elsewhere. Here his health has been worse; he will at 
your house breathe the air of his native place. If it is God s 
will to call him to himself, let us be resigned ; but make 
him take the necessary remedies, such as, milk, broth, etc. 

In regard to the sermons that you wish to have, we shall 
speak of them afterwards. 1 

Tell Father Apice that he should have patience ; we shall 
return the manuscript. But to hear him say: It must 
be finished promptly, at once, on the same day; one should 
write while the other is dictating; this is indeed a fine thing ! 
or rather fine vanity ! All this in order that the manu 
script might be read and copied by the admirers at your 
place so that the balloon may become more inflated ! 2 

I am told that the Archbishop [di Conza] was displeased 
because I used my influence in procuring a bishopric for his 
Vicar-General. I did not think that this would be the case, 
nor did I suspect that I would thereby cause him displeasure. 
Henceforward I will never interfere in such things. 

Have the enclosed letter forwarded to Muro as soon as 
possible and cautiously ; so that it may not be lost and may 
arrive safely. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Have the whole Community recommend to God the 
brother of the archpriest of Teora. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

When the young man Francesco Antonio de Paola 3 

1 Very likely he refers to the sermons preached about the deceased 
Father Paolo Cafaro. 

2 Father Apice had composed a funeral oration on Father Cafaro, 
and his oration had been sent to Nocera to furnish notes for Father 
Alessandro de Meo who likewise pronounced a funeral oration on 
the deceased, August 30, in our church at Pagani. 

3 This young man, a native of Ruvo, diocese of Muro, became 
later on (1781) Superior-General of the Congregation in the Pontifical 
States. 



I753-] Letter 160. 301 

comes, receive him kindly and send him here at once if he 
can come. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

{Postcript written by another hand }: Our Father wishes 
to add here, that when you send the riding animals to take 
Father Giovanni and the goods that have come from Naples, 
send them laden with good grain; of this arrangement 
Father Apice has been informed. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 1 60. 

To Father Francesco Margotta, Procurator-General of the 
Congregation at Naples. 

Solicitude of the saint in regard to the health of the 
subjects. Details as to temporal affairs, 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, 31, [August, 1753]. 

How can I permit Father [Francesco] Garzilli to go to 
Caposele when I have been informed by letter that Father 
Buonamano is suffering from a fever like that of Father 
Paolo? 

As for Gaetano d Ischia, it would not be well to think 
of sending him thither. I await a list of the books for the 
exercises. 

With regard to the purchase of investments, thus much 
is certain: you cannot now leave Naples. The purchase 
of investments in tobacco seems to me about the best 
bargain; but I fear after what I heard, the four per cents 
do not offer entire security. I think the investments in 
the fief is also good. Before investing in houses, it would 
be well to see what will be the income. As for the 
Carmelites, it is certain that they will return the money in a 
few years : add to this that Don Bernardo is rightly in their 
favor. 



302 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Now I receive from Caposele another letter apprising me 
that Father Picone has also been attacked by fever, and 
that to the fever with which Father Buonamano is afflicted a 
very severe headache has supervened. I also hear that the 
mortality is still very great at Apulia. I therefore would 
not dare to send Father Lorenzo d Antonio to Iliceto. I 
remain, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

If you ever have to give a novena to the children of the 
Congregation of Borgia, 1 I should be pleased, and I give 
you my blessing. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Sister Maria Crocifissa 
Berlingieri, a nun in the convent of S. Chiara at Naples. 

LETTER l6l. 
To the Same. 

Details relative to temporal affairs, to the mission at 
Calabria and to various subjects. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, September 2, [1753]. 

As for those books of exercises, by Maffei and Mura- 
tori, we already have them. Please send me that work 
of Father Barbugli 2 and let me know the price of it ; but 
look out for some other works. 

About the purchase of tobacco, three and six carlini 

1 This Congregation was called Ritiro delle Vergini deir Immacolata 
Concezione e di S. Vincenzo. (Asylum of the orphans of the Im 
maculate Conception of St. Vincent de Paul.) It was built under 
the direction of Cardinal Spinelli, who committed the care of it to 
Canon Nicola Borgia, later on (that is in 1751) Bishop of Cava. 
About 500 young girls found shelter in this retreat. 

2 Demetrio Barbugli, S. J., has written among other works " Spirit 
ual Readings for the Use of Nuns , or Commentary on Some 
Passages of St. Bernard." 



I753-] Letter 161. 303 

would be suitable prices. As for the purchase of the fief it 
is a wearisome thing to be obliged to quarrel with powerful 
people about boundary lines; in the course of time they 
take everything from you little by little. 

About the chaplaincy, bene provisum [you have well 
provided for it]. Your Reverence thinks only of Caposele. l 
Why does not some one think of the afflicted house at 
Nocera which has nothing? But enough of this; do the 
best you can. Please however do not let the chaplaincy 
bear our name, as that is now forbidden by the king. 2 
You can leave it to the archbishop that he may have us to 
say Masses and that he give us the revenues of the benefice, 
or you can leave it to the church of Mater Domini by 
founding the chaplaincy there. Enough on this point ; take 
the best measures that you can in order that we may not 
get into trouble with the royal treasury. 

I do not care too much about accepting the annual 
income of thirty ducats in favor of a mission for the village 
of Solopaca; but poverty forces us to accept it for the 
present. See whether you could arrange for a mission 
every five or at least every four years. 

Our Prater [Pietro Paolo] Blasucci is already of age 
required for the priesthood ; hence he could be ordained at 
Christmas; but the consent of the Bishop of Muro is 
necessary. I hear that the bishop is at present at Naples. 
Try to find him and ask his permission. 

It is not possible to give now the mission in Calabria 
you know how many subjects we have lost. Next year the 
young men who are now studying Moral Theology will 
finish their course, and then we can oblige our friend. 3 

1 Father Margotta being a native of the diocese of Conza was 
inclined to leave his patrimony to the house at Caposele. 

2 The Congregation had not been recognized as an ecclesiastical 
corporation ; and could not therefore acquire any property. 

3 This friend was Carmine Ventapane of Maratea, in the diocese 



304 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

But I will not have a mission given in Calabria without one 
of these two conditions: either a foundation is to be 
established ; and for that our friend would have to have an 
understanding with the bishop, and the bishop should 
express his desire to the king of uniting at his expense 
some missionaries in one of his houses ; or there must be a 
legacy of two thousand ducats. But then everything that we 
wish to have done must be exactly determined ; if, for example, 
it is desirable to have every four or five years missions 
lasting two or three months. But if our ministry should be 
required every year, or if we should be asked that within 
the space of five years all the places in the diocese be 
evangelized, such a thing would not be possible. There is 
question of seven or eight days to be devoted to travelling. 

I have received Monsignor Bonaventura s * letter, and 
give you my blessing for the instructions that you are going 
to give at the Conservatory of Father Pepe. 

As you have already bought the works of St. Peter 
Damian, leave them for the house at Caposele; but they 
are not of much value. 2 It would have been much better 
if you could have bought the works of St. Thomas of Villa- 
nova, which are very fine. 

Yes, tell Signor Cestoni that I shall not have any more 
Visits printed on my account, but shall get them from him. 
of Cassano, and was one of the ablest professors of medical science 
at Naples. He was very zealous and at the same time wealthy. 
Having seen with his own eyes the spiritual abandonment of the 
people of Calabria, he resolved to have missions given there at his 
own expense, and for this purpose he applied to St. Alphonsus and 
to Father Margotta. And in fact, when everything had been ar 
ranged, the missions began in November 1756. 

1 Francesco Antonio Bonaventura, born at Barletta, was a great 
friend of St. Alphonsus. A man of great piety and learning, he was 
preconized bishop of Nusco, November 26, 1753, and he governed 
his diocese up to the year 1788. 

2 No doubt the saint evidently meant that they were not of much 
value in regard to their practical utility for missions. 



I753-] Letter 162. 305 

However I have asked him to give me a copy of his edition 
to revise it ; it is full of faults. Hence if he intends to print 
any more, I would wish to revise the edition ; I shall take 
copies from him, after I have disposed of my own, which 
are not many. 

Let me know the authors of the exercises which you 
have found. 

Try to find out whether the sixth volume of Tournely s 
Moral Theology has been published; I already have the 
fifth. 

I am sending back Brother Mattia, as I have no other 
Brother to send you from this place ; how could you have 
got along without a Brother ? And then, what necessity is 
there to send the half-sick Brother [to Caposele], where the 
pest is raging at present? 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER l62. 
To Mother Maria Angiola of Divine Love, at Capua. 

He begs her to obtain through the Queen the royal ap 
probation of the Institute of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

NOCERA, September 8, [1753]. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Now the favorable time has come for you, my dear 
Mother. In my last letter I asked you to find out whether 
it were expedient to hand to the Queen before the chase the 
writing in question ; for I feared that amid the distractions 
of the chase it might be lost. Now I tell you that you 
should do as you think best; and if you think that you 
should give the writing before the opening of the chase, 

20 



306 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

give it. But I again recommend to you to employ on this 
occasion all the influence that you can exert. Make the 
Queen especially understand the injury that the want of the 
approbation has caused us ; on the other hand, tell her that 
we renounce the right of making any acquisition whatever, 
and that we shall be satisfied with what the king allows us 
through the hands of the bishops. I also ask you in 
reference to this matter to read this writing, for everything 
is there briefly exposed. For the service that you will 
render me, my dear Mother, it is not I that will reward 
you, but it will be Jesus Christ himself, whose cause you 
will plead. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, , and Teresa! 

I have conveyed to Marquis Brancone the communication 
with which you have charged me, and I beg you to 
recommend me to Jesus Christ. 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 163. 

To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce, at Camigliano. 
She should not refuse any charge. Avoid dissipation. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, September 30. [1753?] 

I answer briefly. As for asking the Prioress that she 
should not give you employments that may distract you, is 
something that does not please me ; for a religious should 
neither ask for nor refuse any employment ; but when it is 
given by the Superiors it is God himself who gives it. 

In regard to placing into the hands of another religious 
whatever you have, that would not displease me if you find 



I753-] Letter 164. 307 

one that would desire to charge herself with the care of it. 
You may, therefore, make an attempt, but without coming 
to a final decision. 

In respect to your feast, what shall I say? I do not like 
these particular feasts which the religious celebrate. I 
would advise you to deposit with the Prioress what is to be 
spent for the feast and to concern yourself about nothing 
except to praise and to offer prayers to the saint ; otherwise 
you will derive therefrom more disquietude than devotion. 

As for your brother, if he comes it will be well. If he 
does not come, do not take the trouble to have him come ; 
for self-love would have therein a greater share than the love 
of God. 

I recommend you to Jesus Christ ; on your part continue 
always to do so for me, and make a novena to the Blessed 
Virgin for my Congregation ; for we are overwhelmed with 
trouble, especially now as we are menaced, so they tell me, 
with a great persecution. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Sister Maria Alcala, 
religious in the convent of S. Chiara, at Naples. 

LETTER 164. 
To Mother Maria Angiola of Divine Love. 

He sends her some books. -- Hopes in regard to the 
extension of the Reform of Carmel. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NAPLES, October 6, [1753]- 

I send you, my dear Mother, my book on the Blessed 
Virgin with the " Novena to St. Teresa" and the little book 
of canticles. Please to give the other copy of the " Glories 



308 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

of Mary" to my dear friend Father A. Pagnani in order 
that he may not forget me before the Madonna. You 
yourself, my dear Mother, should take care to recommend 
me to Jesus Christ after Communion and solicit for me from 
our heavenly Mother the love for her divine Son. I desire 
nothing else. 

I am glad that the affair of the foundation of your 
monastery of Gruma has again been brought up for dis 
cussion ; so I was told at Naples. Your holy Institute will, 
I hope, extend more and more over Italy and in the whole 
of Europe, to the glory of the divine Spouse and your 
divine Mother. Well, now ! recommend me with fervor to 
Jesus Christ, 1 say with fervor, otherwise I shall derive no 
benefits. Recommend also this Congregation to this divine 
Master. I will on the other hand pray for yours. May 
Jesus be our love and Mary be our hope ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer, 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 165. 
To Signora Filippa Farao. 

He briefly explains to her the Rules of the Nuns of the 
Most Holy Redeemer at Scala. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, 29. [1753?] 

Your letters are too long. I rejoice that your uncle has 
consented to send you to Scala ; but it seems to me to be 
difficult for you to attain your end. We must pray much ; 
this is the means of obtaining this grace. 

As for the Rules at Scala, a careful search has been 
made for them, but they have not been found. 1 The fol- 

1 The said Rules were printed at Rome in 1750, after the Institute 



I753-J Letter 166. 309 

lowing is substantially what they- contain : Perfect poverty ; 
three hours of silence during the day, after recreation ; an 
hour and a half of meditation ; there is but one grate, and 
for relatives, and conversation is held there with the veils 
down; spiritual reading etc., and similar things; chemises 
and bed-sheets are of linen ; flesh-meat is eaten, etc. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

For pity s sake, keep secret what I say to you, and 
destroy my letters. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 166. 

To D. Luigi Sagliano. 



He begs him recommend to the Queen through Mother 
Maria Angiola the affair of the approbation of his Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, October 30, [1753]. 

My dear Don Luigi: I have received your very dear 
letter and that of Canon Farao whom I am going to answer ; 
I have also received the two catechisms. I am glad that 
the house is catching fire. St. Francis de Sales says that 
when the house catches fire the furniture is thrown out 
of the window. He wishes to say that when in a soul the 
love of God is enkindled, the soul detaches itself and 
gradually casts off everything that is not God. 

I do not forget you in my poor prayers, and you do not 
forget me. I know not how to prophesy, but it appears to 
me that God expects great things from you. Well, then, 

of the Redemptoristines had been approved by the Holy See. It 
seems that the copy sent to the saint at Nocera was lost. 
20* 



310 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

I wish that you would help our poor Congregation, and do 
your share in assisting this great work that will do much for 
the glory of our Lord. 

I intrust a secret to you: When I took leave of Sister 
Angiola, I also recommended to her our persecuted Con 
gregation, telling her that for four years we had been 
laboring and had not succeeded in procuring the exequatur 
for the apostolic approbation. I then said to her that she 
should help us through the Queen ; she promised to do so, 
and now she writes to me that she has not forgotten her 
promise. This is the favor that I wish you to do for me. 
When you find out that the Queen is going to Caserta I 
beg you (excuse the importunity) to go to Sister Maria 
Angiola on the day before the coming of the Queen, and 
instruct her on the manner in which she should engage the 
Queen to interest herself in obtaining for us the royal 
approbation on which this work depends for its stability ; as 
otherwise it will be of no value. Tell Sister Maria Angiola 
that I have intrusted this to you as a secret, and you 
should show her that you are recommending this matter to 
her, because you are actuated by the desire to have the 
glory of God made manifest. When the Queen has pro 
mised this to Sister Angiola, I shall at once present 
the Brief and have my memorial referred by Marquis 
Brancone. But I cannot run the risk of losing the Brief if 
I am not sure of the promise of the Queen. The whole 
affair revolves on the acquisition of property.. We do not 
wish riches. We shall be satisfied, if the king approves 
of the arrangement, that he should restrict us as to our 
purchases and revenues just as he may think fit; we shall 
be satisfied with fifteen grains 1 a day for each one, and 
even less after the manner of servants in livery. We have 

1 A grain is twenty-fourth part of a pennyworth troy ; 15 grains 
are equal to 64 centimes, a centime being about one fifth of a United 
States cent. 



I753.J Letter 166. 3 1 1 

only four houses in each of which there must be twelve 
Fathers and seven lay-brothers. For this reason has the 
king assigned to us what will pay for the food, and nothing 
more. 

I would like to have this work established before my 
death, which is not far off. My dear Luigi, for that which 
you do I shall not pay you, but Jesus Christ, who loves this 
work so much. There is question of saving hundreds 
of thousands of souls, as there is question of restoring every 
year to the grace of God thirty or forty thousand helpless 
souls, together with about forty missions, and as many 
courses of exercises which are given at home. 

But if Sister Maria Angiola urges this matter only in a 
lukewarm manner, and the Queen promises her assistance 
only in the same way, the whole affair will come to nothing ; 
and I repeat that I shall not take the risk of presenting the 
Brief. Sister Maria Angiola would have to say to the 
Queen that God wishes (this is certain) that she should 
interest herself in establishing this great work and that after 
God we place all our hope in the Queen. She should tell 
her that God positively wishes her to put forth every effort 
in regard to this matter. 

My dear D. Luigi: Jesus Christ will repay you for 
whatever you do in behalf of this work. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! I remain, 

Your very humble and very affectionate servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Cardinal Guglielmo 
Sanfelice, Archbishop of Naples. 



312 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 167. 
To Mother Angiola of Divine Love. 

He again recommends to her the affair of the legal re 
cognition of the Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, November i, [1753]. 

I have received your answer. It is too much for you to 
thank me for those little works. I should like to know how 
your affairs are, for I have understood that a Theatine 
came from Rome to examine what is the spirit that guides 
you. I can do nothing; but occasionally I have tried my 
best to defend you and your work against certain attacks- 
Enough ; I desire only to know how things are. I have no 
influence; but I will not omit to promote your work as 
much as I can for the glory of God and of our Mother 
Mary. 

Please again remember me kindly to our dear friend 
Father Pagnani ; no doubt I should have been much 
happier to make his acquaintance than he to make the 
acquaintance of me, a poor wretch. May it please God to 
let me see him again ; but already the cold weather has set 
in, and I shall be condemned not to go out any more on 
account of my sickness of the chest. Perhaps we shall see 
each other once more before I die. I also desire to know 
of your spiritual Father what Mgr. Zortu (?) has said about 
the spirit that is leading you ; for I have heard that he did 
not approve it, but I do not know on what point. If I 
desire to know all, it is only for the glory of God. 

Well ! let us become saints, and do not forget to cast, at 
least once a day, a look upon the Blessed Sacrament for 
me and for our poor and afflicted Congregation. You have 
consoled me by saying that you have recommended the 
Congregation to God, and that you have reflected on the 



I753-] Letter id 1 /. 3 1 3 

means of assuring its future. Now I would say to you, and 
it is the Lord that gives me this hope, that I count on 
seeing, before I die, this work definitively established, and 
this thanks to the Most Blessed Virgin, and, then, to 
your own self. But if you do not speak strongly to the 
Queen ; if you do not tell her that in order to please God 
she should certainly occupy herself zealously in regard to 
the future of this Congregation, we shall not succeed. For 
my part, without the formal assurance of the efficacious 
concurrence of the Queen, I would not expose the Brief from 
Rome to fall into the hands of the ministers, for they would 
surely declare themselves against me. I have already told 
you, my dear Mother, that we are not anxious to be rich ; 
let the king assign to us what he wishes for the benefit 
of our four houses. We are satisfied if he gives us each 
fifteen grains a day, and if he grants us his approbation. 
Our Congregation will then not be hanging so to speak in 
the air, and what good it does for so many souls, every 
body knows. There is here question of restoring to the 
grace of God every year from thirty to forty thousand persons 
by means of forty missions that we annually give. This 
being the case, may God provide! My hopes and those 
of my companions to whom I have confided the affair 
under a secret, rest, I repeat, first on the Blessed Virgin, 
then upon you, my dear Mother. 

May Jesus bless you, and may he grant you the only 
thing that is necessary, namely, his holy love. I remain, 
etc. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Be so kind, my dear Mother, after you have spoken to 
the Queen, not to wait for Don Luigi [Sagliano] or his 
servant; but write to me at once by post, addressing the 
letter to Nocera de Pagani. If God blesses your interview 
with the Queen, let me know whether you wish to have the 
memorial or only an abridgment of it, in order to give it 



3 1 4 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

or send it to the the Queen. It will suffice for her to 
express the desire to have the memorial to give it to 
Marquis Brancone, or for her to say to the latter that he 
should propose the affair to the Council in her presence. 
Pardon me for my importunity, but there is here question 
of the glory of Jesus Christ and of the salvation of innumer 
able thousands of souls, and of abandoned souls. You love 
our Lord, my dear Mother; you will therefore willingly 
render this service. Our Lord will not forget it; he will 
know how to reward you for the part that you will have in 
the good that will be done by our Congregation till the day 
of judgment ; to which day I hope this Congregation will 
continue if now you will labor to establish it. Live Jesus 
and Mary! 

For pity s sake, let me occasionally enjoy the pleasure 
of receiving a letter from you ; I shall be satisfied with one 
line, it will prove that you have not forgotten us. Live 
Jesus and Mary ! 

I have the honor to be, my dear Mother, 

your very humble servant, once your spiritual Father, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

Letter of the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XIV. to 
St. Alphonsus. 

[November 2, 1753.] 

Benedict XIV., Pope 

To our beloved Son, health, and apostolic benediction. 

We have received the first volume of the Moral Theology 1 
dedicated to us ; we thank you for the honor that you have 
paid us and for the opportune insertion of our encyclical 
Letters in the above-mentioned work. We assure you that 

1 The first volume of the second edition, begun in Naples in 1752 
and finished in 1755. 



I753-] Letter 168. 3 1 5 

the work will be read by us on opportune occasions, as we 
have a due estimate of your merit, your diligence and your 
prudence in your judgments. In regard to the state of your 
Congregation, 1 we can do nothing more than pray to the 
Lord and recommend to others that they should pray for 
the prosperity of your Institute, which is so useful to the 
Church of God. We conclude by giving you and all the 
members of your Congregation the apostolic blessing. 

Given at Rome, at St. Maria Major, the second day 
of November 1753, in the fourteenth year of our Pontificate. 

LETTER 168. 

To Father Andrea Villani. 

Solution of a difficulty. 

[Anno 1753?] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Don Gennaro Farina 2 wishes to go on the mission. I 
should have no difficulty about allowing this, but one thing 
embarrasses me, and that is, that Genovese and Tortora 3 
might complain that we accept Farina s services, while we 
refuse theirs. However, you can say that he is not a 
professed member, as they once were. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

After the original in possession of D. Merolla at Alife. 

1 The saint had asked the Pope to interpose his mediation with 
the civil authorities, in order to obtain the exequatur of the apostolic 
Brief by which our Congregation had been approved. 

2 The priest Don Gennaro Farina had left the novitiate after 
receiving a most tender letter from his mother. 

3 Don Pietro Genovese and Don Bernardo Tortora had left the 
Congregation after their profession. 



3 1 6 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 169. 
To Sister Maria di Gesu, a Carmelite at Ripacandida. 

He recommends to her prayers the Congregation and 
himself. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, December 4, [1753]. 

I have received your letter, and I thank you much for 
the charity that you have in recommending me to Jesus 
Christ ; I do the same for you. At the present time please 
to pray in a particular manner for our Congregation; for 
there is question of obtaining its approval by the govern 
ment, and if we fail this time, God knows when the 
question will again come up. But may the will of God 
always be done ! 

In your fears always throw yourself as if you were quite 
dead into the lovely arms of Jesus Christ and of his very 
holy Mother. Think no longer of your past faults; when 
doubt and mistrust attack you , say resolutely : In te, 
Domine, speravi, nan confundar in <ztermim. [In Thee, 
O Lord ! I have hoped ; I shall not be confounded forever.] 

As for seeing each other here below, I do not know 
whether that will ever happen ; it may happen, and perhaps 
not. I am old and infirm; it will be difficult for me to 
make so long a journey. At present I hardly ever leave 
the house as I am often visited by fever. It is necessary that I 
should prepare myself better for death, which must be 
near; help me, therefore, to prepare myself for the day 
of reckoning. Be so kind as to offer for me this special 
prayer, namely, that Jesus Christ may let me know during 
these last days of my life what I have to do to please him, 
and that he may give me the strength to execute it. Do 
not forget this. 



I753-] Letter i jo. 317 

Present my regards to the Prioress 1 and to all my 
Sisters; for I acknowledge them as such. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 170. 
To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce. 

One must perform the duties of the offices imposed by 
obedience. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

December 4. [1753?] 

To think of leading a solitary life at Caserta is something 
unreasonable. Now that you are a religious, you must 
occupy yourself in the employments that are given to you, 
and you must serve the Community. 

As for other things, you must leave all when you have 
duties to perform ; but when you are free, do not fail to 
make your day of retreat and to attend to the other 
exercises of meditation ; and once every month, or on the 
day of the retreat, ask the Prioress to appoint a substitute 
for you, if such a thing is possible. Pray for me. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

1 In the month of May, 1753, Mother Maria di Gesu was relieved 
of the office of Prioress, having been succeeded by Sister Maria 
of the Holy Ghost. 



3 1 8 General Correspondence. [PART i. 



LETTER iyi. 

To the Same. 

Prohibition to change her convent. Counsels in regard to 
patience. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NoCERA, December 12. [1753?] 

Herewith I answer your last letter. The thought that 
you have of changing your convent is a temptation of the 
devil, who will always keep you in uneasiness and will 
never allow you to do anything good. If this temptation 
returns, I command you to banish it, and to say then : I 
wish to die here, because God as well as obedience wishes 
this. Crosses are found everywhere ; if you take into your 
head to go to San Gaudioso 1 you will find there other 
crosses than those that you have now to bear. 

Continue as I have told you to receive holy Communion, 
to pray, to perform all the mortifications that you can, and 
above all, bear contradictions that prove what you are; 
if you are quite resigned to bear these trials by conforming 
to the will of God, you will not think of changing your 
convent. 

Continue to pray for me and for our Congregation, as 
there is now question of a most important affair. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

ALFONSO. 

After an old copy. 

1 A convent at Naples. 



1753-1 Letter 1 7 2. 319 



LETTER 172. 
To Don Luigi Sagliano. 

Exhortation to love Jesus Christ. He sends him various 
little works. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, December 19, [1753].. 

My dear Don Luigi: I know not how to thank you for 
the great charity that you have shown me ; I am praying to 
Jesus Christ, and I am praying to him with all my heart 
that he should reward you. As long as the Prioress 
[Mother Angiola] has the desire to render the service as 
she should, I do not very much care if I must wait as long 
as it is necessary; but not so long that it will never be 
rendered. 

Enough on this point ; at the favorable moment recall the 
affair to her memory. 

In regard to the persecutions which you mention to me, 
on the one hand they afflict me, on the other they console 
me when I see how the Lord is detaching you from the 
world, and weaning you entirely from it. In the same way 
the Lord has cut me loose from the world, and now I find 
myself more content than if I had been made king of the 
whole world. 

How much am I pleased that you take delight in med 
itating on the love that Jesus Christ bears towards us! I 
therefore send you another little book by Father Nepveu, 
who treats in a heavenly manner of the love of Jesus Christ ; 
and truly this sweet Saviour deserves to be loved by us. 
Continue, thefefore, to meditate upon his love; because 
whoever reflects upon it cannot help loving this good 
Master and to do everything that will give him pleasure. 



320 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Inform me at once whenever there is anything new, and 
I remain, 

Your very humble and very grateful servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[/*. S.~\ I have not omitted, and I will not omit to pray 
for you, and you must also pray for me. I shall be 
delighted to have you come to make the exercises at our 
house at Ciorani when they are given to seculars. I am 
sure that you will derive consolation from them. These 
exercises for seculars are usually made in Lent. You have 
time to think of the matter. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

I send you also another little book about the eternal 
maxims, with some beautiful considerations for devotion to 
the Blessed Virgin. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the original in possession of the Sagliano family at 
Aversa. 

LETTER 173. 

To the Same. 

He exhorts him to make a retreat. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, March 4, 1754. 

My dear Don Luigi: I am writing you by another hand, 
because I am in bed, and have been sick for many days. I 
again thank you for the charity that you have done me in 
regard to the Mother Prioress, we shall wait to see what 
she will do. 

I am glad to hear about your new business enterprises as 
they concern the body. But as to the spiritual part I know 
not whether I should be glad, because I see that this year 
they have deprived you of the exercises of Passion week 
about which I sent you word. 

My dear Luigi ; I do not oblige you to come precisely 



I754-] Letter i j 4- 3 21 



to Ciorani, but I recommend this most strongly. Every 
year lay aside all business and do not omit to devote 
yourself for eight days to the exercises if you wish to 
acquire the true spirit. Dedimus corpori annum, demits 
animcz dies. [We have given a year to the body, let us 
give days to the soul.] Let me know whether the Mother 
Prioress has been successful, and if she has been so, may 
she be a saint ! Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 
Believe me, 

Your very humble and very devoted servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of his Eminence Cardinal 
Guglielmo Sanfelice, Archbishop of Naples. 



LETTER 174. 

To Mother Maria di Gesu, at Ripacandida. 
Exhortation to obedience and to confidence in God. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, March 24, [1754]. 

I have been sick for some time, and at present I am not 
yet free from my trouble. 

I have received your letter, and I am happy that the 
direction of Father Fiocchi has helped you to find peace. 
Continue then to obey ; throw yourself into the arms of the 
divine Goodness, and go ahead. 

You would like to be absolutely without any fear ; if this 
were your state, it would be a sign that you are walking on 
the wrong road. I then repeat; obey, and move onward 
in the midst of darkness without knowing whither you are 
going. 

Mauriccio is doing well and is becoming a saint; Mi- 

21 



322 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

chele 1 is also doing well, but his health is not good. If he 
so continues, I think of sending him for a while to Melti to 
recover his health; he will return immediately after his 
recovery. It is a long time since I have heard any news 
from Don Luigi Mercante, 2 as he has not written to me for 
some time. He has very likely grown cold. Try to write 
him a strong letter, and make him have a lively fear of the 
misfortune of losing his vocation. 

Recommend every day me and Father Carmine [Fiocchi] 
to Jesus Christ ; I am doing so for you. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 175. 
To Sister Giovanna Delia Croce, at Camigliano. 

She should not desire to change her convent. Various 
counsels in regard to perfection. 

NOCERA, April. [1754?] 

I went to Capua on account of a very important affair, 3 
and I could not go to Camigliano, as I was travelling with 
a friend. I must tell you that I have nearly always been 
unwell, and moreover, that if I had gone to see you, I 
would have told you what I am now writing to you. 

I answer your last letter. It is regrettable that you have 
not received my letter ; in it I said to you that you should 
positively banish the idea of changing your monastery. At 

1 Mauro Murante and Michele di Michele, both of Melfi, had 
entered the Congregation by the advice of the Sister. 

2 D. Luigi Mercante, a young man of twenty-eight years of age and 
already Auditor at the tribunal of Lucera, was a penitent of Father 
Fiocchi. Sister Maria di Gesu urged him to enter the Congregation ; 
but certain obstacles, unknown to us, prevented the execution 
of this pious project. 

3 Probably to confer with Mother Angiola del Divino Amore in 
regard to the affairs of the Congregation. 



I754-] Letter 175. 323 

present I say the same thing to you, and if you ever speak 
to me again about such an affair, I will no more answer 
you. 

You should become a saint in the place where God 
wishes you , and not in the place where you wish to 
go. To wish to change your place of residence is 
pure self-love and shows the desire of fleeing from the 
cross. I wish to see you become a saint by bearing with 
contempt, contradiction, poverty, and all that you have to 
suffer in the place where you are; you, on the contrary, 
wish to sanctify yourself in holy solitude. 

Even the fact that you reserve for yourself a separate cell 
does not please me. I wish that, poor as you are, and 
even poorer than the others, you should be occupied in 
serving as much as you are able the Community and all 
the Sisters. For the rest, if you wish to pray, the choir is 
there ; you should go there during the time in which you 
are not obliged to serve the convent or some Sister, especially 
any one that is sick. 

If you do not positively banish the thought of changing 
your .monastery, you will never become a saint; for this 
thought nourishes in you distractions and disquietude, and 
hinders you from loving sufferings, injuries and contempt 
on the part of others. It is, however, just this love that I 
wish to see in you. 

As for solitude, I wish you to love it, but in the way 
of which I have spoken. Flee from useless conversation, 
from the grate as much as possible, and withdraw to the 
choir, unless you have to render a service to the monastery 
or to any Sister, even though she may be ungrateful. 
Such is the life that does not please you, but that pleases 
Jesus Christ. 

Well, then, abstain for a month from every mortification, 
such as disciplines, little chains, abstinences, etc., and 
attend only to supporting with patience the contempt, the 



324 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

contrarieties, and the unpleasantness which you meet with in 
the monastery. Afterwards you may resume the accustomed 
mortifications. 

You should also mortify the excessive desire of receiving 
a visit from me. God knows with what haste I departed 
from Capua. I did not even stay a day at Aversa, not 
withstanding the pressing solicitations to stay. 

Live Jesus. Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO MARIA DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.~] Give my regards to Signora Camilla Rossi and 
to her brother. 

After the original in possession of D. Giovanni del Yecchio 
at Naples. 

LETTER 176. 
To Mgr. Francesco Antonio Bonaventura, Bishop of Nusco. 

He excuses himself for having retained two priests for the 
mission at Amalfi, 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, May 18, 1754. 

Right Reverend and Dear Sir : On account of the evident 
necessity of the mission that is given by our Fathers in the 
populous city of Melfi, I have taken a liberty with your 
Lordship, through the friendship which I profess for you, 
of sending thither to assist the Fathers two priests of 
Cassano, 1 your subjects. They were unwilling to go, since 
they alleged that by staying so long away from their home 
they would displease you, and especially since one of them 
had charge of a confraternity of his place. I have induced 
them to go thither, making myself responsible to your 
Lordship for any fault on their part. The reason why I 
1 Cassano Irpino, a place in the diocese of Nusco. 



I754-] Letter I*]? . 3 2 5 



did this was sheer necessity, the other Fathers being 
engaged in giving other missions . I could not think 
of employing any other priests than the above-mentioned, 
as they gave so much edification and satisfaction to our 
Fathers, and during the time they assisted them they 
exhibited the highest proofs of their good qualities and 
their zeal. On this account I hope that your Lordship will 
pardon my arrogance. Most respectfully kissing your 
hand, I remain, 

Right Reverend Sir, 

Your very humble, very devoted, 
and very grateful servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of the Vecchi family at 
Volturara Irpina. 

LETTER 177. 
To Father Pasquale Caprioli, 1 at Ciorani. 

Solicitude of the saint for the restoration to health of Father 
D. Saverio Rossi. 

[About May 20, 1754.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

Here we are continually saying and reciting litanies for 
D. Saverio. I am also saying Mass for him. I have 
promised ten ducats for our altar of Mary Immaculate 
if she does us this favor. Send me good news to-day. 
Tell that wretched hiccough on the part of Mary Im 
maculate to go away at once and not torment any more 
Don Saverio and us. 2 I feel great compassion for the sick 
man. 

1 This pious subject, born in Avellino, October 20, 1728, made 
his profession, May 27, 1751, and after many apostolic labors died 
the death of the just at Ciorani, January 3, 1813. 

2 It appears that this order was so efficacious that the sick man 

21* 



326 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

When Father Amendolara returns send him to us im 
mediately so that we may send back Father Apice. 

Tell Father Caprioli to send me the two other texts. 

I bless Don Saverio and all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa ! 

I send you the two papers; preserve them. I have 
already sent the act to Don Andrea at Naples. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

After an old copy. 

was entirely cured. Father Giuseppe Landi thus relates the miracle 
in his chronicles: "While I was staying at our house at Ciorani, 
Father Saverio Rossi was lying at this house seriously ill ; but as his 
malady grew worse and the sick man was already given up by the 
doctors, suffering as he was from a dangerous hiccough, our Father 
Alfonso who was staying at Nocera de Pagani, distant about eight 
miles from Ciorani, wrote every clay for information regarding 
Father Saverio. When I wrote to him that the latter was very ill 
and that there was but little hope of recovery, he wrote to me that I 
should tell the sick man that it was his intention that he should get 
well, and should be cured of his sickness. Through obedience I 
informed him of this, but D. Saverio grew worse, and I at once 
informed the saint that all hopes of recovery had banished. Then 
the saint, full of confidence in God, wrote with his own hand the 
following words : My dear Father D. Saverio, I wish that you should 
^ et well, and this I command under obedience, and for the love of Jes^ls 
Christ and of the Blessed Virgin I command you. After having 
received and read this letter, I had not the courage to read it to 
him ; but as Father Andrea Villani, an old Father of great virtue, 
was staying at the house, I begged him to take it to the sick man 
and to make known to him the will of our Father. Father Villani 
having approached the bed of the dying Father said to him : Father 
Saverio, have you faith in obedience? The latter having answered 
in the affirmative, Father Villani made known to him the order 
of our Father Alfonso; the sick man having devoutly kissed the 
letter, put it under the pillow of his bed, and wonderful to relate ! 
from this time he began to grow better, and in a short while arose 
from his bed quite restored." 



I754-] Letter 178. 327 

LETTER 178. 
To Cardinal Antonino Sersafte, Archbishop of Naples. 1 

He humbly exposes to him his views in regard to the state 
of the diocese of Naples and to the proper measures to be 
taken to remove certain disorders. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, June 18, 1754. 

Most Eminent and Most Reverend Sir : Since my health 
does not otherwise permit, I wish by writing to you this 
letter to kiss your Eminence s feet and to express to you 
my profound respect as your old servant, and now as your 
subject and son. 

It is not necessary for me to express to you the con 
solation that I felt when I heard that your most worthy 
person had been chosen to govern the Church of Naples ; 
your Eminence can well imagine this. 

But your Eminence will no longer find the Neapolitan 
clergy as you left it ; you will find a ruined clergy, 2 and as 
a consequence a ruined people. You will especially find a 
decadence of the right spirit in the candidates for ordination, 

1 Antonino Sersale, born at Sorrento, June 26, 1702, first arch 
bishop of Brindisi, then of Taranto, was created archbishop of 
Naples, February 16, 1754, then Cardinal with the title of Santa 
Pudenziana, April 22 of the same year. On the 23d of the said 
month he took possession of his new church assisted by D. Giulio 
Niccolo Torni, Archbishop of Arcadiopolis, but he came to his 
church only on the i6th of the following June. He died at Naples, 
June 24, 1775. 

2 The reason of this decadence is well expressed by Canon 
Sparano in his Historical Memoires of the Church of Naples (vol. ii. 
page 350). "Cardinal Spinelli," he says, "went to Rome at the 
end of 1749 for the opening of the Holy Year, and remained in this 
city till he resigned this See, that is, for the space of four years and 
two months. Ecclesiastical studies began to decay immediately 
after his departure .... etc." 



328 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

and also what is worse, you will find the same in the three 
Congregations of priests. 1 It was by means of these Con 
gregations that there has been preserved during many 
years the fervor of the Neapolitan clergy, who have been 
an example to the whole kingdom, and I might say to the 
entire world ; but at present one might shed tears in seeing 
the state to which they have been reduced. 

I hope that Jesus Christ has sent your Eminence to 
remedy all these evils, and I hope to see renewed the time 
of St. Charles Borromeo, who preached to the people with 
so much fruit; in this manner I hope to see your Eminence 
preach to the people of Naples. 

Oh, how much greater are the fruits produced by the 
words of the Pastor ! Your Eminence formerly preached 
so well as a missionary ; 2 now I hope to have the consolation 
of seeing you preach at Naples as Pastor. 

Pardon my boldness, if I speak thus ; it is only for the 
glory of Jesus Christ. What good would your Eminence 
effect if you would have missions held in Naples, and would 
yourself preach at least in two or three places, if only 
during the first years, and would also give the exercises to 
all the clergy, strongly exhorting them to frequent the 
Congregations, to observe their Rules, and particularly to 
apply themselves to the missions, since by the missions 
from Naples we extend spiritual help to the whole kingdom ! 
As for the candidates for ordination, you should make 
them understand that they should either give signs of a 
true vocation or should retire, since the Church deplores 

1 These three Congregations were: I. The Congregation of the 
Archiepiscopate, or of the Propaganda, or of the apostolic missions, 
erected under the patronage of Mary Queen of the Apostles; 2. The 
Congregation of Father Pavone or the Conference; 3. The Con 
gregation of the Purity or of S. Giorgio. These three associations 
are still in existence. 

2 Cardinal Sersale had formerly been a member of the Congregation 
of the Apostolic Missions. 



1754 J Letter ijg. 329 

the ruin caused by admitting many subjects who are without 
a vocation. Your Eminence might at the same time inform 
them that you will admit to Holy Orders only those that 
have been well tried not only as to science, which is of less 
importance, but as to their moral conduct and as to their 
ecclesiastical spirit, things that are most necessary. 

I also beg your Eminence to listen to Don Giuseppe 
lorio and Don Giov. Battista Fusco, 1 two priests, who are 
truly men of God and of true zeal, without self-interest. 
They will represent to you the truth of things, and draw 
attention to many good works that will be conducive to the 
welfare of a people that are spiritually ruined. I beg your 
Eminence at least to listen to them. 

I conclude by humbly prostrating myself at your feet, 
and asking for your blessing. Live Jesus, Mary, and 
Joseph ! I remain. 

Your very humble, devoted, and grateful servant and son, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 179. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia, 2 Master of Novices at Ciorani. 
He regulates the studies of some novices. 

[The year 1754.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
Who has ever said that the novices have to study during 
three hours? I have not time to answer in regard to all 

1 D. Giuseppe lorio and D. Giambattista Fusco were both members 
of the Congregation of the Archiepiscopate. The former is the 
author of the famous work " II Vescovo consolato," and of many 
other works. Sparano pronounces a most beautiful eulogy on Don 
Fusco in his Memorie Istoriche, torn. ii. pag. 374. 

2 A large volume would be needed in which to narrate the life 
of this learned and exemplar} religious. Born at Corato, October 



330 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

your difficulties, and from afar I cannot arrange things. 
If I were with you I might adjust everything after having 
asked certain questions. Besides, I have spoken of the 
matter continually, supposing that [Prater Girolamo] Fer- 
razzano had completed the humanities; but I now hear that 
he has not even finished his course of arithmetic. 

As to [Prater Domenico] Caputo, that he has not finished 
rhetoric does not matter; he will do so afterwards, having 
already studied logic. As to physics, geometry is not 
absolutely necessary, nor is it necessary at least in many 
cases. Caputo is of age and might learn at present some 
necessary figures. Physics is something not absolutely 
necessary ; it is ornamental not necessary to a priest. 

As for [Prater Pasquale] Bianchi, it appears to me that 
he has already gone through logic. In a short time he will 
leave the novitiate. But I should like to be there, to speak 
to Father Spera and settle all difficulties. Hence since the 
study of physics has been begun, let things take their 

26, 1724, Antonio Tannoia made his profession, December S, 1747, 
and as soon as he was ordained priest, the office of Master of novices 
was intrusted to his care, and a short time afterwards he was made 
Rector of the house at Iliceto. " When I was still a young man" 
so he speaks of himself in the process of beatification of St. 
Alphonsus "I was so afflicted with a combination of diseases that 
the first doctors of Naples despaired of my recovery. The servant 
of God, however, said to me one day: Have no fear, you will not 
die; but you will have to lead a life of great bodily infirmity. I 
have lead such a life and I am leading it still, because it is now 
nearly fifty years that I have felt myself always afflicted by grave 
maladies; I have expected death every moment, and if I did not 
die, and if I am to live, my life will be a life of misery and pain, as 
the servant of God has told me." Thus he spoke in 1796. But 
notwithstanding these continual and very great sufferings, he lived 
heroically faithful to all the exercises of piety, to the fatigues of the 
apostolic ministry, and to study. He wrote several valuable works, 
and among them the " Life of St. Alphonsus." (3 vols.) He died a 
holy death at Iliceto, March 12, 1808. 



1754. J Letter 180. 331 

course. But when the young men reach the end of their 
novitiate, inform me, and we shall see what is to be done. 

Another time you must write to me directly in regard to 
the difficulties that may arise as to what I have told you. 
Do not involve me in disputes with others. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.~] I have just now received your second letter. It 
is not necessary to dispense Bianchi from the novitiate. 
Let him remain among the novices and follow the course 
during the time that is absolutely necessary. Have an 
understanding with Father Spera. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After a copy. 

LETTER 1 80. 

To the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. 

Important recommendations in regard to the observance 
of the Rules, the study of theology, and other different 
points of religious discipline which constitute the practice 
of perfection. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, August 8, 1754. 

I beg all of you, my Brethren in Jesus Christ, before you 
hear this letter read, to say the Veni, Creator Spiritus, 
and to ask of God the light well to understand and to put 
in execution what in the name of Jesus Christ I write to all 
and to each one in particular. My Fathers and my 
Brothers: It is not yet- two-and-twenty years since the 
beginning of the Congregation, and it is five years since it 
was approved by the Holy Church ; so that at this moment 
it should not only have maintained its first fervor, but should 



33 2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

moreover have increased it. Many, it is true, are behaving 
well ; but in others, instead of advancement, there is a want 
of spirit. What will become of these, I know not ; for God 
has called us into the Congregation (especially now at its 
beginning) to become saints, and to save ourselves as 
saints. As for him who wishes simply to save his soul in 
the Congregation, but not to become a saint, I know not 
whether he will be saved at all. 

Poor Congregation if this want of spirit spreads among 
us ! What will it be fifty years hence ? One should have 
to weep and say, Poor Jesus Christ ! if he be not loved by 
a member of the Congregation, who has received from him 
so many special lights, by whom will he be loved? My 
God, of what use are so many Communions? and why 
have we entered the Congregation, and for what purpose 
do we remain in it, if we are not endeavoring to become 
saints? Is it to deceive the people, who regard all of us as 
saints, and to make them laugh at us on the day of judgment 
when they will know our imperfections ? 

We have now many good novices, but they and others 
that come after, will through our example, be worse than 
we are ; and in a short time the Congregation will become 
thoroughly relaxed, because imperfections will give place to 
scandals ; and if this is to happen, far better will it be, my 
Brethren, that we pray the Lord to suppress the Con 
gregation at once. 

I am already old and in bad health, and am already 
drawing nigh to the day of account. I desire to be of as 
much service to you as I can ; and God knows how much 
I love each one of you, more than my brothers and my 
mother : but it is not the will of God that I should endanger 
my eternal salvation through love (but an inordinate love) 
of any of you. We are all miserable creatures, and we all 
commit faults, but I am not pained by passing faults, but 
by those that are permanent, and by certain weaknesses 



I754-] Letter 180. 333 

that do harm to the whole Community. If any one would 
with his eyes open espouse such faults as these, and defend 
them, or at least excuse them as endurable, I, for my part, 
declare that I cannot, and ought not to tolerate them. 
Such would be, for example, faults either against obedience 
or against poverty, against humility or fraternal charity. I 
hope, by the grace of God, to maintain this resolution to 
my death, and faithfully to act upon it, as I have promised 
God never to allow myself to be overcome by human 
respect, so as to see the brethren fail in things important 
and prejudicial to the others without correcting them. You 
are already aware that perhaps my weakest point is to be 
too indulgent; but I hope that God will give me firmness 
not to bear with the imperfect who will not correct themselves 
and who defend their imperfections ; and I beseech you who 
are young, and who remain to govern the Congregation, 
never to tolerate a subject who should be so imperfect as 
not to humble himself after a fault, but should even defend 
it. I protest that on the day of judgment I will accuse 
before the tribunal of Jesus Christ the Superior who, in 
order to avoid causing pain to a subject, shuts his eyes to 
faults that do harm to the Community, and is the cause 
of the Congregation being relaxed. With regard, however, 
to the past, if there be any one who has been guilty of some 
fault, I do not intend now to reproach him with it; I speak 
only for the future. 

But to come now to certain special points, I beg each 
one to pay attention to the following remarks : 

First, then, I beg of each one to value his vocation. It 
is the greatest blessing, next to that of creation and re 
demption , which God could bestow on him . Thank 
Almighty God every day for it, and be afraid of losing it. 
Do not be deceived by the enemy of souls, who will 
perhaps say that you could do good even out of the 
Congregation, at home, and would enjoy greater peace out 



334 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

of it. And what good? Nemo propheta acceptus in p atria 
sua. [No prophet is accepted in his own country. Luke, 
iv. 24.] Every one knows this, and experience proves it. 
A priest will save more souls in one year in the Con 
gregation than in his whole life out of it. And to speak 
of personal advantage, a member of the Congregation will 
gain more by practising obedience for one year than he 
would gain in ten by living according to his own fancy out 
of the Congregation. And besides, we have to do the 
good that God wishes of us, and not that which we wish 
ourselves. Now God wills of him who is called to the 
Congregation that good and those labors that are imposed 
upon him by the Rule and by his Superiors. Peace, 
indeed ; what kind of peace ? Quis restitit ei, et pacem 
habebit? [Who hath resisted him, and hath had peace? 
Job, ix. 4.] We see it, my Brethren, in those who have 
abandoned the Congregation. What kind of peace will 
God give to those faithless ones who, out of some caprice, 
and for want of mortification, lose their vocation, and turn 
their backs upon the will of God? And especially when 
they come to die, how shall they find peace, when they 
remember that they are dying out of the Congregation? I 
will not say more on this point, because now every one 
already well understands it. But the evil is, that in the 
moment of temptation we are blind, and the loss of vocation 
is not considered an evil. I call attention to this: let no 
one think to frighten us by saying that he wishes to leave. 
Thanks be to God, the Congregation has at the present 
moment many good subjects, and at the same time every 
day you see there come to us young men full of fervor and 
talent; for the good name of the Congregation is spread 
throughout the kingdom, and even out of it; and it is 
believed that there is great fervor and perfection in the 
Congregation (would to God that only half were true !) : 
and thus the good subjects will remain with us, to give 



1754] Letter 180. 335 

"X 

missions and retreats. And even were we obliged to give 
fewer missions, it will always be better to keep up the 
spirit of regular observance with a few subjects, than to see 
the Congregation become relaxed. Those few that go on 
conscientiously will please God more than a thousand that 
lead imperfect lives. So , then , to sum up this point, 
unhappy he that loses his vocation ! And, by the way, I 
renew for each one the formal obedience that I have given 
at other times not to leave the Congregation without 
having first obtained my express permission, together with 
the dispensation from the vows and oath of perseverance, 
unless this has been already obtained from the Sovereign 
Pontiff. 

Secondly, I beg each one to obey and to make no 
resistance to the commands of the local Superiors. If a 
subject has some difficulty , he is allowed to make it 
known ; but then I beg him to make up his mind to obey 
before he makes his representation, should the latter not be 
entertained. So resolved , let him go and explain his 
difficulty, whatever it may be ; otherwise, if he does not act 
thus, he will remain disquieted, should his difficulty not be 
admitted ; and, being disquieted, the devil will gain much 
with him. Father de la Colombiere made a vow always to 
go against his own will. Should any one not have the 
courage to do so much (and I do not exact this), at least 
he ought to be careful on all occasions to mortify his self- 
will, which is the ruin of souls. Speaking of obediences 
which are difficult (for there is no great merit in those that 
are easy), St. Catharine of Bologna says that we should 
perform them without murmuring exteriorly; for instance, 
by complaining of the food, clothing, or the manner of acting 
of Superiors, which latter is a great fault ; and also without 
interior murmuring, for this also disturbs the soul. 

I beg in a special manner of each one not to wish to 
change his house without evident necessity; and even 



336 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

should the necessity be evident, I nevertheless beg him, 
before he makes his request, to resign himself entirely to 
the judgment of his Superior, should the latter take a 
different view of his case. And for my own part, I declare 
that I will not grant this to any one without a plain 
necessity; for to act otherwise might become the source 
of much disquietude to the subjects. 

Thirdly, I beg of all not to complain one to another 
of what the local Superiors do. To do so may be a cause 
cf great temptation both to themselves and to the others. 

Fourthly, I beg each one to ask of Jesus Christ his holy 
love, otherwise all the good purposes will be of but little 
profit. And in order to obtain this holy love, let us strive 
to have a great love for the Passion of Jesus Christ, by 
praying and making a little meditation on it during the 
day, and when it is possible by making the Way of the 
Cross. Jesus Christ is surely much pleased when we think 
of the sorrows and the scorn that he endured for us. It 
seems to me impossible for one that thinks often of his 
sorrows and of his Passion not to become full of love for 
Jesus Christ. I pray both present and future Superiors 
often to insist at the Chapters on the love of Jesus Christ 
and of his Passion. There is nothing on which we insist in 
the missions more than on this love for the Passion of Jesus 
Christ. What a shame, then, for one of us to be found on 
the day of judgment to have loved Jesus Christ less than 
some poor woman ! 

And therefore I beg each one to love his cell, and not to 
become dissipated by wandering about here and there 
during the day. Let us husband our time, in order to 
spend it in prayer, in visits to the Most Holy Sacrament, 
which we have in the midst of us for this very purpose, 
and also in study, because this too is absolutely necessary 
for us. Hence I recommend to those that are confessors 
the study of Moral Theology; and I beg them not to follow 



I754-] Letter 1 8 o. 337 

blindly the opinions of certain theologians, without having 
first considered the intrinsic reasons for them, and especially 
those opinions which, as may be seen in the second edition 
of my work [on Moral Theology], I no longer allow to be 
probable. This I say, and the probabilists say it likewise, 
that every confessor is bound to consider first, in each case, 
whether there be an intrinsic reason capable of convincing, 
for thus the contrary opinion becomes improbable. It is 
only when we are not convinced by such a reason that we 
can avail ourselves of an extrinsic probability : probabilitas 
extrinseca. Pay attention to this point; for I fear that 
some in the Congregation make serious mistakes in this 
matter. And remark that in my second book I ordinarily 
admit only those opinions to be probable that I expressly 
call probable. I do not pretend that my opinions must 
necessarily be followed; but I beg that before you reject 
them you read the book, and consider what I have written 
with so much labor, inquiry, and study. Now I did not 
undertake this labor, my Brethren, for others, or to acquire 
a reputation ; if I had only wished to gain a passing applause, 
I should have willingly done much less. God knows the 
tediousness and the trouble that it has caused me. I have 
done it solely for you, my Brethren, in order that you 
might have a solid doctrine to follow, or at least might act 
after reflection. I confess that at first many opinions seemed 
to me well-founded, but afterwards I saw that they were 
improbable. Wherefore, I beg all the confessors as well as 
the students to read my book, for I wrote it for this end ; 
and then let them follow the opinions that seem to them the 
best before God. Among improbable opinions I include 
especially that which holds that a candidate for ordination 
who is in the habit of grievous sin may be absolved, although 
he may have the disposition sufficient for receiving the 
sacrament of penance; whereas for such a one positive 
virtue is not fitting merely, as some falsely suppose, but is 

22 



338 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

necessary, not on account of the other sacrament that he is 
about to receive because for this the state of grace would 
be sufficient but on account of that exalted state upon 
which he enters. For such a state a high degree of virtue 
is absolutely necessary, since the Canonists and Doctors 
commonly say with St. Thomas, that such virtue proeexigi- 
tiir, requiritur, necessaria est: words that imply a real 
necessity and not a fitness; and the reason is, because a 
candidate for Holy Orders, both on account of the dignity 
of the state which he embraces, and of the most holy 
ministry which he has to exercise, must possess that positive 
virtue, which implies not merely an exemption from mortal 
sin, but the possession of a degree of virtue acquired by the 
previous practice of virtuous acts. Formerly I myself de 
fended the contrary opinion ; but afterwards I came to see 
that it was most improbable, and therefore I have re 
tracted it. 

Fifthly, and lastly, I recommend to the Superiors, both 
present and future, the observance of the Rules. This 
observance is in their hands. The Rector Major is far 
away : if the local Rector does not attend to it, the Rector 
Major cannot remedy what is amiss; and therefore it is 
necessary for the Superiors not merely to preach this 
observance, but to be the first to practise it. That which is 
seen makes far more impression than that which is heard. 
At the same time I recommend to the Superiors charity 
towards the subjects, in consoling them in their temptations, 
and in endeavoring to assist them in their necessities as far 
as possible, and by inquiring expressly (in the account 
of conscience) if there be anything of which they are in 
want. I recommend, above all, the monthly account 
of conscience, if possible the first Monday of the month; 
and when it cannot be made or finished the first Monday, 
let it be on the second. I especially recommend attention 
and charity to the sick, in visiting them and providing 



I754-] Letter 180. 339 

them as far as possible with the necessary remedies, and in 
asking them if they are in want of anything ; and if this or 
that be not compatible with poverty, at least in consoling 
them as much as possible. I also recommend the Superiors 
to correct in private; for public corrections do but little 
good, except in the case where the fault was public, for 
then the correction does good to the others ; but even here 
it is better first to correct the subject in private, and after 
wards publicly. 

So much for the Superiors. As to the subjects, I beg 
them never again to say that the Congregation is not so 
strict as it was, and that the primitive observance is relaxed. 
Even if on account of the increased number of subjects 
more faults are committed, nevertheless each one should 
endeavor to correct himself, and to live in observance of the 
Rule ; and let him understand that the non-observant, who 
will not correct themselves, will not be tolerated in the 
Congregation. Hence, when any one commits a fault, let 
him at once humble himself interiorly, if the fault was 
interior, and exteriorly, by accusing himself of it, if the 
fault was exterior ; and on falling into any fault, let him at 
once make the purpose of amendment. If any one has 
some grievance against one of his brethren or against his 
Superior, let him try to take no step while in the heat- 
of passion ; let him first become calm , recommending 
himself to God ; and then if he think it necessary, let him 
act, or let him speak or write to the Superior. For the 
love of Jesus Christ, I beg you to pay attention to this 
point. Oh, if this were observed, how many faults would 
be avoided ! because in the heat of passion things appear 
very different from what they really are. And on this 
account I also beg the Superiors not to correct when they 
are under the influence of anger, but to wait until the mind 
becomes calm, otherwise they will always be falling into 
excess, and their corrections will avail but little. 



34-O General Correspondence. [PART i. 

I recommend as strongly as I can detachment from 
relatives, who are certainly, as Jesus Christ says, the 
greatest enemies of our perfection. Let every one be on 
his guard not even to mention the word stima propria 
[honor] in the Congregation ; the greatest honor that a 
member of the Congregation should desire is to love 
obedience, and to be despised, and to be thought little of. 
This was the desire of the saints, to be despised as Jesus 
Christ was despised. He who does not make up his mind 
to become a saint cannot persevere in the Congregation ; Jesus 
Christ himself, who loves exceedingly this Congregation, 
will drive him out. It is not the will of God that the first 
stones of this his own building should be so weak as to be 
not only unable to encourage and to give good example to 
those that shall come after us, but even to give little 
edification to those that are in it at present. Let each one 
well understand this. I recommend also the love of poverty, 
and beg all to take notice that faults against these two 
virtues poverty and obedience are not, and cannot 
be, tolerated in the Congregation ; for if the practice of these 
two virtues fail, the spirit of the Congregation is wholly 
destroyed and at an end. 

I again protest that what I have now written just as it 
.came into my mind is not against any one in particular, 
but in general for all, and rather for the future than for the 
past. And I moreover beg all of you, after hearing this 
letter, not to suppose that I have any ill-feeling towards 
any who in past time may have committed some fault. I 
declare that as Jesus Christ has forgotten the faults of those 
who have humbled themselves for them, so also do I forget 
them. And let each understand that when any one has the 
misfortune to fall into a fault, if he will only heartily humble 
himself for it, he may be sure that I will heartily forgive 
him ; and even by his humiliation he will make himself more 
dear to me than before. I say this in order that no one 



I754-] Letter 1 8 o. 341 

may lose courage, if by chance he should ever fall into 
some fault. But, on the other hand, let all guard against 
committing faults even the smallest with open eyes ; 
because the devil is wont to make use of such faults as these 
to lead us into more serious ones, and then to tempt us to 
lose our vocation; and by this snare the devil is able to 
drive more than one out of the Congregation. 

Lastly, be assured, my Brethren, that I love each one 
of you, after God, as my only love on this earth; and I 
offer for each of you, from this moment, my blood and my 
life : for you who are young may do much for the glory 
of God : but as for me, who am old, and ill, and useless, 
what more service can I render? And therefore I beg each 
one, if he is at a distance, to write to me whenever he has 
the need, and to banish the idea, which the devil has been 
making use of to disquiet me and others, that he will annoy 
me by speaking or writing to me. Be sure the more one 
shows me this confidence, the more he binds me to him ; 
and remember that where there is question of consoling one 
of my brethren and children, I leave everything. I consider 
it of greater importance to help one of my children than to 
do any other good work ; and God demands this of me in 
my office more than anything else. 

To conclude, then, my Brethren; let us - - in what 
remains of our lives, little or much, we know not (within a 
short time have died three of our young men: Muscarelli, 
Blasucci, and Zabbatti, and Father Paul [Cafaro], whose 
health was that of a young man) let us, I say, become 
saints; and let us love Jesus Christ very much, for he 
deserves to be loved, and especially by us, whom he has 
loved more than others. Let us love a God who died for 
the love of us. Let us enliven our faith, and remember 
that we have but a few days to live on this earth, and that 
eternity is awaiting us. We preach these truths to others, 
and indeed they are truths of faith. So, then, we have no 

22* 



342 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

longer to live for ourselves or for the world, but only for 
God, only for eternity, and in order to become saints. 
And therefore let us continually offer ourselves to Jesus 
Christ, that he may do with us what he pleases ; and let us 
continually beg of the most holy Mary to obtain for us the 
great treasure of the love of Jesus Christ. And when the 
devil tempts us against our vocation and this is his great 
business with each one of us let us recommend ourselves 
to this Mother of perseverance, and we shall certainly not 
lose our vocation. 

I bless and embrace you all in the Heart of Jesus Christ, 
that having loved him exceedingly on this earth, we may 
all be one day united in loving him in our heavenly home. 
Let us not lose the beautiful crown that I see prepared for 
every one that lives in observance, and dies in the Con 
gregation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, St. Francis Xavier, and St. 
Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER l8l. 
To Father Gaspare Caione,! Rector of the House at Caposele. 

He reproaches him for his excess of condescension. - 
Various dispositions. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 31, [1754]. 

I beg you for mercy s sake not to be so condescending. 
To send some one of ours to fetch Father Apice s sisters is 

1 Father Gasparo Caione was appointed Rector of Caposele about 
the end of July, 1754, n place of Father Mazzini who did not find 
the air very healthy. He was a native of Troia, and was born there, 
August 4, 1722. He had studied law at Naples; he was a man 
of great talent. Following the voice of grace, he entered the 
Congregation, September 18, 1751, in which he rendered very great 



I754-] Letter 181. 343 

something that I cannot approve. You would have done 
well if you had tried to prevent them from coming to 
Caposele; for their journey to Caposele may be a cause 
of surprise to the relatives of the Fathers, and of inconvenience 
to the people of the village, etc. 

If similar novelties, not authorized by usage, should 
again occur, be careful not to grant permission without first 
sending me word. This whole affair has pleased neither 
me nor those that have heard of it. 

I have been asked from Caposele for permission for 
Father Francesco Saverio de Leo to hear the confessions 
of men. A little patience ! I wish him yet to study two 
months so as to finish the necessary treatises. Then he 
may hear confessions in the missions, and especially at 
Corato where he will probably go. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I bless you and embrace you all. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.~\ Invite the usual persons to tlie feast. 1 

When the sisters of Father Apice come to see him, I 
absolutely wish that none of ours should accompany them 
to Caposele. Send some one belonging to the place. 

This affection of Apice s for his relatives very much 
displeases me; gently endeavor to withdraw him from this 
attachment by making him perceive the danger of it. This 
young man makes me tremble. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the original preserved at the Redemptorist convent 
of Contamine-sur-Arve (Haute-Savoie). 

services during his long life. He died at our house in Benevento, 
October 30, 1809. 

1 The feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin was every year 
celebrated with the greatest pomp in our church of the Mater Domini 
at Caposele. 



344 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER l82. 

To the Same. 

Various recommendations, 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, September 8, [1754]. 

Bear with me if I give you some advice. With age and 
experience I have learned many things. 

As the air of Caposele is not beneficial to Father Gio- 
venale, send him to Iliceto ; in his place I shall send another 
Father. Let him tell you all that he knows about the 
Community which you are to direct. 

Take care that all may make their retreat, especially 
should you permit Father Garzilli to do so; he justly 
complains that you have not for a long time given him an 
opportunity to make it. Let all have finished with their 
retreat by the 2oth of October. 

I hope that at this date Father de Leo has finished the 
study of the necessary things and that he will be able to 
hear confessions in the missions. If he needed to employ 
for this work the ten days of retreat, I should permit him 
to do so, in order that he may go on the missions. 

What am I to say about Father Margotta ? He will soon 
come here, and we shall talk to each other. Tell this to 
Father Garzilli. 

I have had prayers ordered for Father Strina x that he 
may become cheerful. I embrace and salute you all, 
particularly my dear Don Benedetto Grazioli ? whom I 

1 Father Andrea Strina, a native of the city of Lettere, was 
admitted as a subdeacon to the novitiate, March i, 1748. He 
labored much for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, and 
died full of merit at S. Angelo a Cupolo, April 21, 1797. 

~ Benedetto Grazioli of Atella, a rich man and a great benefactor 
of the Congregation, had at that time come to Caposele to spend some 
weeks in solitude and prayer. 



I754-] Letter 183. 345 

wish well, since he is so earnest in his love for Jesus 
Christ. 

I have also been much pleased with your Reverence, 
since I noticed that my corrections did not disquiet you. 
Thank Jesus Christ for such a grace, as many fail in this 
respect. I understand very well that it is not possible on so 
many occasions that present themselves, always to conjecture 
what is the wish of the Rector Major; hence we must have 
patience and afterwards comply with obedience. 

I embrace and bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

ALFONSO. 

After the original preserved at the cathedral of Monte 
Casino. 

LETTER 183. 

To the Same. 

Various commissions. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, September 21, [1754]. 

As for the two young men of Montella, send them both, 
or only the one that can come. 

But inquire whether they have any patrimony. 

I send a thousand blessings to Father Latessa and Prater 
Picone, 1 who should recommend me to the Madonna, 
because I do not omit to do the same for them. 

As regards the econome, since Brother Gerardo 2 is back 

1 Father D. Angelo Latessa arid Frater D. Pietro Picone were sick 
at that time; and a short time after both died; the first, October 5; 
the second, November 9, of the year 1754. 

2 Venerable Gerardo Maria Maiella had been with Father Margotta 
at Naples during three months, and was re-called to Caposele at the 
beginning of October of this year. A year after his soul entered 
Paradise. 



346 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

again, let him be econome, especially because, as I re 
member, Brother Gennaro is deaf, and moreover, is busy 
at the building. 

As for your retreat, three days are sufficient for your 
Reverence. 

As for the retreat for Mgr. di Nusco, I say yes, and give 
you permission, provided it is given within the month 
of October; because on the ist of November the Fathers 
will have to set out for the missions. 

Tell Don Benedetto [Grazioli] that I will most cordially 
recommend him to God, and have others to do the same. 
But let him render me the same favor ; and your Reverence 
should recommend me every morning at Mass. 

I embrace and bless all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the sacristy of the Oratorian 
Fathers at Naples. 

LETTER 184. 

To the Same. 

Measures to be taken in regard to a student. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NoCERA, September 28, [1754]. 

Donato Antonio, bearer of these lines, was anxious to 
have his son at Bovino; 1 but such a thing could not possibly 
have been allowed him. I have, however, consented that 
for the re-establishment of his health the young man might 
go to Our Lady of Consolation [Iliceto]. See to it, therefore, 
that he be sent at once to Iliceto with one of our Fathers ; 

1 Francesco Saverio Manfredonia, a native of Bovino had been 
professed for three months, when his father came to solicit the favor 
of taking him to his native place. 



1754.] Letter 185. 347 

and I should prefer that you yourself would accompany 
him. 

If you cannot at once send Father N. as his companion, 
send him as soon as you possibly can. The Father that is 
to accompany him must behave with circumspection. 

The two young men have been sent away ; one had no 
patrimony, the other was a seminarian, and a seminarian 
of the Bishop of Muro. 1 Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Frater N. told his father that he felt as if he had a 
hot iron in his intestines. For what reason did he express 
himself in this way to his father ? See what is at the bottom 
of this, and act accordingly. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 185. 
To the Same. 

He approves of the manner in which he acted in regard to 
the student Manfredonia. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, October 2, [1754]. 

Give thanks to Jesus Christ for having inspired you to 
send the young man away at night. 2 You must, however, 
not be disturbed. What fault could you have committed in 
permitting him to speak to his father in company with 
Father Strina? Sometimes it is unavoidable to allow young 
people to speak with their relatives. 

Last evening I had an interview with him ; he is a little 

1 These two young men were Lorenzo Nigro di Bella, of the 
diocese of Muro, and Giambattista Gargano di Montella, of the 
diocese of Nusco. Both were however admitted to the novitiate the 
following year. 

2 Father Caione made Frater Manfredonia set out from Caposele 
to Nocera, and from Nocera St. Alphonsus sent him to Ciorani. 



348 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

hardened. That he concealed his temptation so long is 
what injured him. As for a dispensation, he must not 
think of it. If he wishes after all to lose his vocation and 
his soul, so much the worse for him. We shall try to help 
him as much as we can. 

For pity s sake, do never use in regard to yourself the 
words: Drive me out of the Congregation. You thereby 
inflict a wound on the love that I bear you. I really love 
and esteem you very much. Even though I sometimes 
reprimanded you, I never yet doubted your good intentions. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Recommend and have recommended to God Father 
Fiocchi who is suffering greatly from fever at Ciorani. Live 
Jesus and Mary! 

Inform me what the relatives of Manfredonia did after 
wards. Live Jesus and Mary! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER l86. 
To the Same. 

Sentiments of the saint in regard to dispensation from the 
vows. 

[October, 1754.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I bless your exercises and your triduos. 

Your Fathers do not reason well in regard to the affair 
of Manfredonia. If this door is once opened, it will be 
sufficient for any one that is tempted and wishes to leave, 
to become stubborn in order to be dismissed with a dis 
pensation; then there would be no use of making a vow 
of perseverance. 

It is true that this subject does not render any more 
services, and I do not know how it will all end j 1 but so much 

1 Manfredonia, ordered to proceed to the convent of Ciorani, left 
it, November 21 without a dispensation from his vows, and contrary 



I754-] Letter 187. 349 

the worse for him. For the sake of an individual I cannot possi 
bly inflict an injury on the whole Community. The example 
that I would give by now dismissing him with a dispensation 
would afterwards create a temptation in the minds of many. 
It is cast up to me that I have injured the Congregation by 
having granted a dispensation to those that have already 
left us ; but in their case other reasons had supervened, and 
perhaps I proved myself too weak in their regard. Hence 
forth, let this be communicated to all he that wishes 
to leave the Congregation without a reason, must make up 
his mind to leave it in mortal sin. No one will be able to 
take away from me this conviction ; and tell your Fathers 
that no one should speak to me any more to the contrary. 

This time you do not deserve a penance, but at another 
time if this happened again you would deserve one. I 
bless you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa I 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 187. 

To Father Saverio Rossi, the Rector of the House at Ciorani. 
Exemplary chastisement inflicted on a disobedient subject. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[NOCERA], October 18, [1754]. 

Since Father Grassi l has refused to go to Iliceto, write 
to him at once that on account of this refusal I dismiss him 
and declare him excluded from the Congregation. 

to the formal obedience of not leaving this house. May 30, 1755, 
not having yet received the dispensation, he was forced to re-enter 
the Institute ; but as he had lost the spirit of the Congregation he 
was dismissed as incorrigible ; this time he was released from his 
vows. Such was for this unfortunate young man the sad result 
of having concealed his temptation against his vocation. 

1 The occasion of the expulsion of Father Gerardo Grassi is found 
described by Father Tannoia in his Life of the saint : " Alphonsus 



350 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Let us pray to God that, if there are similar subjects 
among us, they may leave us promptly. If perfect sub 
mission to holy obedience is lost among us, it will be all 
over with the Congregation. 

It will be well to notify the Vicar-General that this man is no 
longer a member of our Congregation. Also inform the 
Bishop of Cava of what has happened, since this gentleman 
might assume importance in that part of the country and 
thus throw dishonor upon us. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 1 88. 
To Father D. Gasparo Caione. 

Various recommendations relative to the house at Caposele, 
to private retreats, and to the students. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 12, [1754]. 

I cannot but approve of the sale of the vineyard. As for 
the proceeds of this sale, since you desire them to be 
devoted to the benefit of the Congregation for the glory 
of Jesus Christ, we shall examine with Don Andrea [Villani] 
what is the best use we can make of them. I am of the 
opinion that the whole should be converted into capital for 
the benefit of the Congregation. 

If the Archbishop Nicolai [di Conza] insists, answer him 

having ordered Father Grassi to be sent to Iliceto, the latter, who 
was in the house at Ciorani refused to go. But the motives of the 
one that gave the command and of the one that did not wish to obey 
were diametrically opposite. Father Grassi with little edification 
due to the Community, wished to assist his brother who was making 
his studies at Salerno ; and St. Alphonsus for the same reason 
wished him to change his abode, and seeing the resistance that this 
subject made, dismissed him from the Congregation." 



I754-] Letter i8 8. 351 

again, but only as if the answer came from yourself, that 
you have received from me the order to keep no one in the 
house longer than twenty days ; that you had taken it upon 
yourself to allow a stay of thirty days, while the Lazarist 
Fathers keep no one longer than fifteen days. It must be 
understood that our houses are not prisons ; otherwise we 
shall render ourselves odious to the whole diocese. If after 
this the archbishop still presses the matter, tell him that 
you must write to me about it, and then send me a few 
lines. 

For certain good reasons I do not deem it expedient that 
Brother N. should return to your house; let him go to 
Iliceto whence Brother N. will come. 

I am very glad to hear that there is a prospect of having 
dry rooms ; for I am continually disquieted by the fact that 
the rooms there are so damp. Hence see to it that as soon 
as the season arrives, in April or May, the plastering 
of the rooms should be begun, according to the opinion 
of Father Garzilli and others. 

Tell the Brothers that they must not give to women any 
orders to purchase things for them. 

I am told that Frater N. has been given to melancholy 
for some time, and it is whispered here that one of the 
students has been mentally affected. Inform me whether 
the fact is true about N. and how his health is now, and 
whether I should write to him. 

Fears are here expressed about the students who are and 
who will be in this house ; for I am informed that they have 
so easily an occasion to see young girls who are engaged in 
working at the building. Give me your opinion about this 
matter, and be on your guard ; for if it be necessary, we 
shall have to remove the young men to another place. 

In regard to yourself personally send me some news 
about your health. I have made inquiries and was told 
that you are still very much enfeebled. 



352 General Correspondence. [ PA RT i . 

On feast-days it is sufficient if you hear confessions till 
half an hour after the particular examination, that is, till 
after dinner, and no longer. Do not trouble yourself about 
the number of confessions ; and let things go as they go. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

In regard to the work on the building, I bless all that 
you do ; yet be careful always to take counsel ; and, more 
over, do not incur too many expenses ; for I have remarked 
that all Superiors are anxious to build in order to show 
what they have done. I beg you not to trouble yourself too 
much about the work on the buildings; and on account 
of the improvements that are to be made the Community 
should not be made to suffer any privations either in regard 
to food or clothing. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 189. 
To the Same. 

Answer to be given to his bishop if the latter should wish 
to recall him to his diocese. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 14, [1754]. 

The enclosed letters having reached me, I opened them 
to see what they contained ; for I had been informed of the 
agreement made between the Signer Cantore and the Bishop 
of Troia, for the purpose of forcing you to go to Troia to 
take charge of the seminary. I do not doubt your constancy, 
and I have read with pleasure the letter of your worthy 
uncle, 1 who says that it is a conspiracy that hell has formed 
in order to disquiet you. But I hold for certain that this 

1 This uncle was Canon Domenico Rosato who had greatly aided 
his nephew when he entered the Congregation, as is seen in the 
letter of Father Cafaro to St. Alphonsus. 



I754-] Letter 1 8 q. 353 

will not cause you any disquietude, and that it will only 
make you laugh. 

"Let us come to the point. The bishop threatens to order 
you to return to Troia. You know what answer to give ; 
but allow me to suggest something. The bishop says that 
you have promised him obedience. In the first place, the 
reigning Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XIV., in the Constitution 
Ex quo dilectus, etc., of January 14, 1747, has declared 
that this is to be understood in the sense that the one 
ordained cannot leave the church to which he has been 
attached without the permission of the bishop, unless he 
enters some religious Order or regular Chapter, which our 
Congregation resembles. This as you see, refers to the 
case when the one ordained is attached to some church 
of the diocese. Now you have been ordained for the 
Congregation without having been attached to the diocese 
of Troia. 1 It also refers to the case when the one ordained 
wishes to live outside of the diocese, and not when he has 
entered a Congregation approved by the Pope. 

Declare, therefore, to Cantore that it is not necessary 
for the bishop to make a move in this matter, since you 
yourself are able to have recourse to the Pope at Rome. I 
say this, because the bishop counts perhaps on the good 
standing and influence that he enjoys in Rome ; but he 
surely will never succeed. 

I doubt whether it is expedient to answer Cantore im 
mediately, or to await a second letter ; for if you do not 
answer, the bishop may give up his intention. I leave this 
matter to your prudence. At least I should wish that you 
defer your answer as long as possible ; and as Cantore has 

i September 7, 1752, Mgr. Marco de Simone, Bishop of Troia, 
had in fact written to St. Alphonsus in the following terms: "When 
you consider Don Gasparo Caione ready for sacred orders I shall at 
once ordain him, although I have deferred perhaps for a long time 
to ordain all the others," 

23 



354 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

taken the affair upon himself, and has compromised the 
bishop, I would counsel you to complain about this pro 
ceeding in your answer. 

It is nevertheless desirable that you should write at once 
to your uncle, to thank him for his good advice, and to ask 
him, if an occasion offers, to persuade the bishop not to 
follow up his intention. I fear that this good prelate may 
give you and me a great deal of trouble. He has near him 

Don Carmine who has been at the Chinese College, 

formerly Rector of the seminary of the neighboring diocese 
of Troia, a learned and saintly man ; why does he not take 
him ? If you write to Cantore, you may hint this to him. 
After all, if the bishop wishes a good Rector, let him not 
grudge the expense, and he will have one. 

To sum up. Write so forcibly that they will persuade 
themselves that they will never succeed in shaking your 
resolution. I think that even now it would be better to 
send an answer, but do so only after two weeks ; otherwise 
the bishop might become ill-disposed towards us, thinking 
that we had withheld your letter. 

Give me a copy of what you have to write, so that I may 
be able to make my answer agree with yours ; for it may 
easily happen that the bishop will afterwards write to me 
about the matter. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 190. 

To Sister Maria Vincenza Giannastasio in the Monastery 

of the SS. Annunziata, at Cava. 

Behavior amid contradictions. - - Advice in regard to di 
rection and confession. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, JanuaryS. [1755?] 

I have received the stipends for fourteen Masses, and 
the two baskets of sweetmeats; for which please accept 



I755-] Letter 1 90. 355 

my thanks. For pity s sake, ndt so many presents! 
What I desire of you is that you should become a saint. 

As for the persecutions to which you are subjected, love 
them. They please me more than if you were working 
miracles. 

Always recommend to our Lord in a particular manner 
those persons who persecute you more, and render them 
services whenever you can. Show them at least a pleasant 
countenance, salute them affectionately, but without affect 
ation; speak well of every one, and whenever you commit 
a fault against meekness, repent of it at once; then become 
quiet. 

The advice of Father Stasio is good, but it is not good 
for you. It is better for you to think of the mercies of God 
of which you have been the object, and of the immense and 
ardent love that Jesus Christ bears to a loving and faithful 
soul when it remains faithful even in aridities and mortifying 
things. The Lord draws you by the way of love ; it is this 
way that you should walk : it is that which appears to me 
the surest for every one. It closely unites souls to God ; it 
gives strength and perseverance. Quis me separabit a 
caritate Christif [Who shall separate me from the love 
of Christ ? Rom. viii. 35.] 

I have spoken of the confessor to Mgr. [of Cava]. Have 
patience; do as I tell you. Far away from you as I am, I 
can give you but little assistance. Take then D. Pietro 
Galise ; tell him all that I have told you, and you will see 
that he will not differ from my direction, at least in essential 
things. For the rest, in accidental and less important 
things, as the omission of Communion or mortifications 
under certain circumstances, you should always b guided 
by his decision. Have patience. Here is what you should 
do : Ask Monsignor for this good priest, and he will surely 
send him to you. 

If, however, Don Pietro should give you instructions 



356 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

that are absolutely opposed to mine, we shall then arrange 
with each other afterwards. But in the mean time, do 
what you are told; begin in this way; then write to me 
from time to time, and let us see how the vessel will sail. 
I will not fail to give you all the necessary assistance. You 
should say to yourself that after all it is God who is to make 
you a saint, and not the confessors. 

Recommend me to Jesus and Mary. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 
I remain 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 191. 
To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce. 

He exhorts her to love contempt and to love the Sisters 
that oppose her. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, January 14, 1755. 

I have been sick ; and now I answer your letter. I hear 
that you are disconsolate, and that pleases me; but what 
displeases me is that when any one bestows upon you 
marks of contempt, you complain and lament for entire 
months. This shows that you are not yet humble and dead 
to yourself. Do not tell me any more such things, but 
inform me that when you receive any injury you are inferiorly 
pleased, and that you feel great affection for the one that 
has gratified you in this manner. In your meditations let 
all your resolutions and prayers be directed to the attainment 
of this disposition; and then if you commit faults, renew 
your resolution and be calm. 



I755-] Letter 192. 357 

I again recommend to you a day of retreat more than the 
use of the discipline. 

As for your idea that you wish no more to see creatures, 
tell me what do you mean by that? You are in the convent, 
in which you must necessarily have intercourse with your 
Sisters and serve the Community. As for the parlor, do 
not go there except through obedience and sheer necessity. 
Explain therefore to me what is your idea. 

Always recommend me to Jesus Christ, and try to love 
him much. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 192. 
To Father Gaspare Caione. 

He presses him to make another application to the Arch 
bishop of Conza. Various details. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

PAGANI, January 27, 1755. 

I have just received your letter in which you say nothing 
about going to the Archbishop [of Conza], because perhaps 
you may not yet have received my letter. I therefore 
briefly say again what I have written. 

Please go as soon as possible to the archbishop and beg 
him in my name to remember his promise, that is, of sending 
if he thinks fit, the candidates for ordination to our house 
when the time for the ordination arrives. Tell him that I 
have not Fathers to give the exercises at the seminary more 
than once a year. On these occasions sermons must be 
preached for the seminarians that study, and also for the 
priests that come there, and sometimes in the presence 
of the Monsignor himself. Hence it is necesssary for us to 
23* 



358 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

know what kind of ecclesiastical sermons are to be preached ; 
and there are some of us who know not how to do this kind 
of work ; nor can one repeat the same sermons that are 
once preached. 

This was the substance of my letter. Your Reverence is 
prudent enough to represent this to him most distinctly, but 
you must speak resolutely. It is necessary that this affair 
should be at once settled; for the longer we follow a 
custom, the more difficult will it be for us afterwards to 
break through it. 

As to the students, the matter is understood. It may be 
that I shall send you Prater de Michele, 1 because the air 
here does not benefit him. 

To Signor Cantore [of Troia] it seems fit that your 
Reverence should write again briefly what you have already 
written. I have already received your letter and have 
forwarded it. Erase from it the words; although the Pope 
should command it. It is sufficient to say that if the 
bishop should give a formal order, you would not be 
obliged to obey. And if an order comes from Rome you 
are also ready to go to the Pope. 

As regards the flag-stones for the rooms, I have been 
told that they are the cause why so many insects are in the 
rooms ; this is the reason why I wish to have them replaced 
if possible by a sort of pavement, although this would 
increase the expense. If possible I shall have workmen 
come from this place. 

In the Chapters recommend obedience in the missions, 
and inform them that during the mission they should not 
touch any one, big or little ; that they should make med 
itation, at least once a day, and should have Chapter. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

\_P. S.~\ The secretary sends his regards, and copies as 
1 The student Michele di Michele. 



I755-] Letter 194. 359 

much as he can of what you have written to him, but it is 
not very suitable. I send you a paper on the manner 
of preaching, and if you could have it gradually copied, and 
then have it sent me, you would do me a favor, because I 
have not time to copy it. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 193. 
To the Same. 

He gives instructions how a Father is to be treated who is 
destined to teach. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, March 23. [1755?] 

Father de Meo is coming to you. It is sufficient if he 
applies himself to his studies. Do not charge him with the 
duty of attending to a confraternity nor of hearing the 
confessions of grown up persons. However, if he manifests 
a desire to hear confessions, let him be satisfied with 
preaching, but do not urge him to do so. 

Let there be no writing done during class. 

Send me the writings of the deceased members, particular 
ly those of Father Cafaro. 

After a copy. 

LETTER 194. 
To Sister Maria Anna di Gesu, at Cava. 

Counsels in regard to prayer and the practice of religious 
virtues. 

[The year 1755?] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
To judge by your letter, the Lord calls you to perfection. 
Take care then not to grow lukewarm ; for souls whom God 



360 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

calls to perfection with a special love and whom he destines 
to walk on the narrow road of virtues, should respond to 
his offers. If they wish to follow the wide road of luke- 
warmness, they run the great risk of being abandoned by 
God and of being damned. 

Thank the Lord for the lights that he has given you, and 
especially for the gift of prayer of recollection of which you 
speak. Although one does not meditate on any subject in 
particular, this prayer is the best of all when God grants it. 
But God does not grant it always. Now when you are a 
prey to desolation without the power of meditating and 
without the power of recollecting yourself, continue to make 
prayer with patience and perseverance. Do not doubt that 
you will be dearer to God than before. 

Now since you have not this recollection at prayer, you 
should help yourself with books ; and when you cannot do 
any other thing, resign yourself to the divine will, abandon 
yourself to the mercy of Jesus Christ, ask his pardon, and 
multiply the prayers and the acts of love towards Jesus and 
Mary. Whatever you suffer in this state offer always to 
God. 

Besides detachment, I recommend to you scrupulous 
attention to holy poverty and to obedience; it is in this 
delicacy that consists in great part religious perfection. 

I also recommend to you charity towards all your Sisters ; 
support meekly and peacefully reprimands and contempt, 
and render good for evil to the one that persecutes you. 
The religious that does not do so will never become a saint. 
Let it, moreover, be one of your exercises in prayer to 
prepare for contradictions. 

Finally, in the state of desolation in which you are, try 
to obtain the needed permissions to communicate as often 
as possible; and when it happens that you commit some 
fault, such as some act of impatience, etc., do not be 
troubled; humble yourself, quietly repent of it, and unite 



I755-] Letter 195. 361 

yourself more closely to God by an act of love and gf con 
fidence. If you fall a hundred times a day, use a hundred 
times the same remedy. 

Follow these counsels, and recommend me to Jesus 
Christ in your visits to the Most Holy Sacrament and to the 
Most Holy Virgin. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant in Jesus and Mary, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 195. 

To the Superiors of Missions. 
Regulations relative to confessions. 

[The year 1755?] 

All the Superiors of missions should know that it is my 
express wish, without any possible interpretation, with the 
exception of a case of necessity, which will rarely happen, 
that in all our missions the people when the mission is given 
should be fully satisfied in regard to their confessions. 
If therefore it should be necessary either the number of the 
sermons should be increased, or the Fathers should remain 
for some time to hear confessions without preaching. More 
over, let the meditation be made in common, at least once 
a day, in accordance with the Rule. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

Let every one understand that he is obliged to act in 
conformity with this order, if he sees that the contrary is 
practised. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

ALFONSO, 

Rector Major. 
After an old copy. 



362 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 196. 
To Sister Maria di Gesu, at Ripacandida. 

Answer in regard to some difficulties. The sending of two 
little works. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa 1 

NOCERA, April 2 T 1755. 

I am happy to know that you are in peace, and I answer 
your two difficulties. You have at present, so you tell 
me, neither doubts nor troubles. Besides, you enjoy a 
peace that is troubled by nothing. Here is my answer in 
a few words : Keep this peacefulness as long as fears do not 
come to visit you ; and when they come, abandon yourself 
to the hands of God. I say when they come; for I believe 
that you will not always enjoy this tranquillity. Our life 
should be interwoven with flowers and thorns. But this is 
sufficient. Let us always say : I wish for myself what God 
wishes, and nothing more. 

I send you the Visits J with the appendix which I have 
added, and I very much thank you for your remembrance 
of me before God. I beg you for the love that you bear to 
our Lord, to continue ; for I need graces for myself and for 
others. I also send you the " Novena to St. Teresa." 

Recommend to God a very important affair which refers 
to the Congregation; and ask Mother Prioress to have the 
Community recite for this intention the Salve Regina every 
day for nine days. 

I am writing hurriedly ; tell therefore the Mother Prioress 
that I thank her for the love that she shows for our Con 
gregation; but how can I prevent other priests from 

1 The little work of the Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the 
Blessed Virgin. 



I755-] Letter i qj . 363 



adopting our costume? Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of the Chapter 
of the cathedral of Cagli. 

LETRER 197. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Discretion of the saint in regard to a vocation and to the 
foundation of a new house. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NAPLES, May 19, [1755]. 

Francesco de Paola 1 is making me lose patience with his 
letters. I feel sorry for him, but I know not what I can do 
for him. If he should ever leave home and come here, I 
would not send him back ; but I cannot write this to him. 
I should feel a scruple in regard to the Congregation if I 
would expose it to the danger of having a useless subject 
who could not be ordained. Besides I could not even write 
this since I fear that my letters might be intercepted. For 
this reason the enclosed letter is written in a tone of in 
difference. 

I am staying here to arrange that affair of Sicily; the 
archpriest of Girgenti has already come; but I see that 
there is trouble ahead. In fact negotiations have been 
going on with the Fathers of the Mission, and I have 
declared, that as long as these negotiations are continued 
with the said Fathers, it is altogether improper for us to 

1 A most excellent young man of Ruvo, who as we have already 
indicated became afterwards Superior-General of the Congregation 
in the Pontifical States. 



364 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

become involved in this affair about the foundation, otherwise 
it might appear that we wish to supplant them. 

As to the new Father of whom you speak, have patience. 
Father Gallo has had a severe attack of illness and is using 
remedies : let us see how he will get on. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

I must inform you that towards the end of July Father 
Apice should come here in order to go to Sorrento to give 
a novena, for which Canon Corbo, who lives with the 
Cardinal, has most urgently applied to me. Live Jesus, 
Joseph, and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of a family of Gragnano, 
diocese of Castellammare. 

LETTER 198. 
To the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. 

Petition for the confirmation of the foundation of the house 
at S. Angelo a Cupolo in the archdiocese of Benevento. 

[Month of May, 1755.] 

The priest D. Alfonso de Liguori, Rector Major of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, humbly exposes 
to your Excellencies the following facts : 

For the greater glory of God and the profit of souls, he 
has for about three months, with the permission of Mgr. 
[Francesco. Pacca] Archbishop of Benevento, as appears 
from the permission granted to him, begun the foundation 
of a new house at S. Angelo a Cupolo, a district of the city 
of Benevento and a fief of the archbishop. This foundation 
will, with the divine help, result to the greatest spiritual 
advantages of the clergy, since in said city and in this whole 
vast diocese there is not a house in which the spiritual 
exercises can be given to the candidates for ordination, nor 



I755-] Letter 198. 365 

any Congregation to instruct the same in the art of preaching, 
giving missions, hearing confessions, and so forth. This 
foundation will also benefit the people who are both in 
spiritual want and numerous, as well as destitute of the 
ministry of priests in such a manner that hardly had some 
of the Fathers of the Congregation gone among them and 
given them some missions and other exercises of piety 
conformably to the end of their Institute, when they were in 
the greatest request in most places of the diocese. Hence, 
for the greater stability and safeguard of so useful a work, 
besides the received permission of Monsignor Archbishop 
of Benevento, and the testimonies of extraordinery con 
tentment of the people of said district, the petitioner also 
desires the approbation and good pleasure of your Ex 
cellencies ; humbly begging that he may be consoled with 
such approbation, etc. 

Answer of the Congregation. "The Congregation of the 
very Eminent Cardinals who preside over the affairs and 
consultations of the Bishops and Regulars, in view of the 
report of the Archbishop of Benevento, has charged the latter 
(the truth of the facts given having been demonstrated) to 
grant to the petitioner the object of his request according as 
he shall think fit. 

ROME, June 13, 1755. 

C. A. CARD. CAVALCHINI. 

P. GUGLIELMI, secretary." 1 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

1 Sacra Congregatio Etnorum et Rmorum S. R. E. Cardinalium 
negotiis et consultationibus Episcoporum et Regularium prasposita, 
attenta relatione archiepiscopi Beneventani, eidem benigne com- 
misit ut, veris existentibus narratis, Oratoris precibus , pro suo 
arbitrio et conscientia indulgeat, juxta petita. 
, 13 Junii 1755. 

C. A. CARD. CAVALCHINI. 

P. GUGLIELMI, secretarius. 



366 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 199. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Various recommendations. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, June I, 1755. 

Since Father Garzilli has arrived at your place, let Father 
Nittoli go to Iliceto. 

Father Apice is wanted by all means at Sorrento for the 
novena of the Assumption. Hence see that he goes there 
as soon as possible during this month. 

I bless all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 

LETTER 200. 

To Father Emanuele Caldarera of the Congregation 
of the Oratory. 

He sends him two of his works. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, June 4, [1755]- 

I send you the second volume [of my Moral Theology] 
with a little work on the religious state. This little work, it 
is true, is directly addressed to our Congregation, but may 
also be useful for religious vocations of every kind. At 
least you may use the considerations that are at the end, 
and you will no doubt be pleased with them. 

Father Pagano 1 has told me that he wished to take my 
Moral Theology for those that follow the longer course in 
your house. Remind him of this promise if you think fit. 
1 Father D. Tommaso Pagano, the first director of the saint, died 
shortly after, August 25, of the same year 1755. 



I755-] Letter 20 1. 367 

Please let me know at an opportune time what has 
been concluded in regard to the foundation of Girgenti. 

Do not forget to recommend me to Jesus Christ; I have 
also been recommending you and are recommending you 
still. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

While humbly kissing the hand of your Reverence, 
I remain your very humble and very devoted servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 201. 

To the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XIV. 

He sends him the second volume of his Theology, and 
asks him for some spiritual favors for his Congregation. 

[June 8, 1755.] 

Most Holy Father: I send to your Holiness the second 
volume of the Moral Theology which has caused me two 
years of labor. I hope that it will not be disagreeable to 
your Holiness to deign to cast a glance at it. 

Besides the Bull of your Holiness, I confess that I have 
received great light from your most worthy notifications 
which have been my guide in the questions that are therein 
examined with great learning and labor. Of the practical 
matters appertaining to the instruction of confessors, I have 
made an abridgment in the vernacular, have inserted it in 
the work, and had it separately printed, and I send it to 
your Holiness together with other little ascetical works 
which I take the liberty of offering to you, trusting that in 
your kindness you will be pleased with it. The said 
abridgment entitled Pratica will I hope be of great use for 
the instruction of new confessors in regard to every state 
and every kind of persons, both good and bad. 

I am not so presumptuous as to claim a recompense; it is 



368 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

sufficient for me that your Holiness accepts and blesses 
what I have offered, so that my books, if there is any good 
in them, may contribute to the salvation of souls. But 
prostrate at your feet, I supplicate your Holiness for a 
spiritual favor in behalf of my little Congregation. By the 
approbation of your Holiness our Congregation has come 
into existence. The favors that we ask your Holiness are : 
the communication of the privileges of the Fathers called 
the Pious Workers, 1 and the faculty of being able to have 
the subjects of the Congregation ordained under the title 
of mensa communis, at least for a certain determined number, 
conformably to what you have kindly granted to the Fathers 
of Monte Argentaro, called Passionists. In this way the 
Congregation will be able to develop itself, since the harvest 
that we have had at hand is so great. 

But in order that the favor may be complete would your 
Holiness be so kind as to grant to the Rector Major of our 
little Congregation the faculty of giving Letters dimissory^ 
to the said candidates for ordination, and that the same may 
be ordained by the Archbishop of Benevento? Finally, to 
comply with the request of the archbishop of this diocese we 
have founded a house which is entirely subject to your 
Holiness ; it is in the diocese of Benevento, at S. Angelo. 
Hence I beg you to give a special blessing to this foundation, 
by which we are doubly the subjects of your Holiness. I 
have asked that they may be ordained at Benevento; other 
wise the favor would be useless for the reason which the 
sagacious mind of your Holiness can appreciate. Should 
we not be thought worthy of obtaining this favor from your 
Holiness who has called into being this our little Congregatian, 
much less should we be able to obtain it from your 
successors. 

We are moreover in trouble by not having the royal 

1 This communication was conceded by a Pontifical Rescript 
of July 19, 1756, and a Brief of August n, 1757. 



1755- J Letter 201. 369 

exequatur; since we have not yet thought the time oppor 
tune for presenting the Brief of your Holiness granted to us 
seven years ago. If your Holiness were to say a word to 
our king in regard to the royal consent, I should think that 
it would be of great avail ( The rest is wanting^] 

To this petition the Pope sent the following answer : 

[July 15, 1755-] 

To our son Alfonso de Liguori, priest of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer at Nocera de Pagani. Benedict XIV. 

To my dear Son, health and apostolic benediction. 

We have received your letter of June 8, together with the 
second volume of your Moral Theology, and the other books 
of less bulk, but of great profit to the salvation of souls. We 
thank you for your present, and having cursorily looked at 
your book on Moral Theology (which is dedicated to us, for 
which we send you special thanks) we have found it full 
of valuable information ; it will surely meet witn* universal 
approbation and will be most useful to the public. We shall 
gradually read it, and we hope that what remains for us to 
read will correspond to what we have read. 

We have read the petitions that you have offered in behalf 
of your Congregation. With the exception of our blessing, 
which we willingly bestow upon you and upon the whole 
Congregation, the rest will be of little service to you as long 
as you have not obtained the royal exequatur for our Brief, 
expedited seven years ago. We shall not omit to do our part 
with the Duke of Cerisano, ambassador of the king and of the 
two Sicilies, who is with us, and if our efforts are successful, 
we shall think of the rest. . . . 

Given at Rome at St. Maria Major, July 15, 1755, the 
fourteenth year of our Pontificate. 

According to the original draught preserved in the archives 
of Father General at Rome. 



370 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 2O2. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Various affairs. -- Orders and counsels concerning the 
building of the house at Ca posele. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, June 10, [1755]- 

I answer your last letter. I have written to you a letter 
in which I told you that there is no need of coming in July 
since the Chapter had to be postponed till October, and 
D. Saverio [Rossi] has been unwell and had to go away for 
a change of air, and I do not know how his health is at 
present. There are other reasons, but the chief reason is 
that Don Andrea [Villani] must necessarily be present at 
the foundation of the house at Benevento ; a storm is feared 
on the return of the archbishop. 

As regards Father N. my dear Gasparo, I have told you, 
and I say, that this young man makes me tremble for his 
perseverance because he has a head too thoughtless and 
unsteady. 1 At the end of July he is to come here to give 
the exercises at Sorrento ; if he has to drink the waters 
at Castellammare, he may set out sooner and come at the 
beginning of July. But he does not like the idea of staying 
with me, because I gave him a gentle correction. Now 
what is to be done? If he should at the end do something 
rash, so much the worse will it be for him. God will then 
have no need of him. Let us assist him, but it is not 
necessary to satisfy him in everything, for he is never 
satisfied. I commit him in this matter to your prudence. 

Concerning Father N., his brother has written to me. I 

1 This Father seems to have been Father Apice ; but the fear 
of the saint vanished a short time afterwards, because the Father 
reformed in such a way that he lived and died a saint, as may be 
seen in his Life written by Father Agostino Saccardi. 



I755-] Letter 202. 371 

answered him that for an interview with the said Father I 
gave him permission, although I hear that the interview has 
already taken place. As to going afterwards to Naples, I 
forbid, have forbidden and will forbid such a thing; and 
inform the Father of this in a gentle way so that there may 
be no thought of going to Naples. What trouble we have 
with so many different heads ! 

As regards the paving-tiles, that is understood. As to 
the plinths they may be put down afterwards, and it will be 
better to make a trial with paving-tiles in two or three 
rooms ; and a trial might be made with the rough-casting 
of which Father Ferrara has spoken ; but the architect says 
that this will all be useless, and that the dampness of the 
walls, the frost of winter coming a little afterwards, will 
make all come down. 

The news about Fr. Agostiniano pleases me, but I have 
a doubt about his perseverance. 

I bless all. The affairs at Benevento are now prospering. 

Let me hear at once, when you receive information, 
whether Father Margotta has made good arrangements 
with [D. Benedetto] Grazioli. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

When speaking about the building with the Archbishop 
[of Conza] especially about remedying the dampness, be 
careful not to enter into any promise that things should be 
done so or so. If he speaks of the matter evade the 
question and say that counsel has been taken about the best 
method, that a trial would be made, etc. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the Neapolitan edition of the year 1748. 



372 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 203. 
To Sister Maria Vincenza Giannastasio, at Cava. 

Counsels regarding the acceptance of employments and the 
use of mortifications. 

[The year 1755?] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I never promised Don Francesco di Franco that I would 
come to give the novena ; I only said to him that I would 
try to send another Father. But this has not been possible. 

See whether five hours of rest are not too little for you ; 
take six hours of rest if you suffer from want of sleep. As 
for employments, in future neither desire nor refuse any, 
and pay attention to this point, for thus you will do the will 
of God. Continue your Communions as I have regulated 
them, and do not trouble yourself about the rest. As 
regards mortifications, those that I have allowed you are 
sufficient ; do not do more ; only you may wear during the 
day a little chain on your arm in order to remind you that 
you should offer acts of love to Jesus and Mary. 

I have told you that I can direct you from afar ; do not 
therefore say any more that I should call upon you. This 
would give me pain, and I would not come. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



I755-] Letter 20$. 373 



LETTER 204. 

To Father Carmine Picone, Vice-Master of Novices 
in Ciorani. 1 

He tells him to invest certain postulants with the habit. 

[About June 12, 1755.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Francesco Antonio is coming ; keep him with the novices, 
and let him do all that which those must do that are 
preparing for receiving the habit. He may receive the 
habit with the two others 2 on the feast of St. Aloysius. 

Let them make the exercises, but allow them to come to 
recreation. Also moderate for all the practices of devotion 
and application during the warm weather. Let them go 
out often, and moderate the use of the little chains while 
the weather is hot. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

From an old copy. 

LETTER 205. 
To the Same. 

A recommendation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Certainly, grant to N. some solace and more liberty; but 
assist him, as he has much to contend against. See that 
you give him some remedy, milk or some other thing. 
Tell him from me that he should have confidence; that 
nothing is the matter. 

I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

From the Roman edition. 

1 The Master of novices was Father Tannoia ; but on account 
of bad health, he was obliged, to stay at Iliceto for some months. 

2 The two other candidates that received the holy habit with 
Francesco de Paola, on the feast of St. Aloysius de Gonzaga, were 
Michael Ferrazzano di Solofra and Sebastiano de Jacobis di S. Fele. 

24* 



374 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 206. 

To the Same. 

Qualities that novices should have. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your Reverence should go on with great courage and 
confidence in God, and not be disturbed about anything, 
nor be grieved, if a novice grows cold and leaves us. Help 
all of them as far as you can; but if any one commits 
habitual faults and does not show the right spirit, let me 
know this, because then I will send him away. Let him 
remain, who is willing to remain. Let only those remain 
that wish to suffer all, and wish to be really saints! Tell 
this to all the novices and add that he that has not this spirit, 
is not made for the Congregation. 

There are now many of us. The Congregation has no 
need of men who are without fervor. 

Among other things see that they obey you. Always 
tell them that those that are stubborn, or attached to their 
relatives and to self-esteem, cannot be of any use to the 
Congregation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 207. 

To the Same(?) 

Encouragement to be given to a postulant. 

Live Jesus and Mary! 

If N. does not come to receive the letter, carry it to him 
yourself, and encourage him. He will still have many 



I755-] Letter 208. 375 

tempests to go through in order to follow his vocation, as 
his father is at present by no means favorable. 

I very well know that his father is disquieted ; but what I 
am sorry to hear is, that the young man has grown colder 
and has become discouraged. If he remains firm, he must 
not doubt that God and we shall come to his aid. But 
if he begins to waver, saying now yes, then no, you must 
declare to him that I will even refuse to receive him. 

Carefully inquire about his health ; for I have been told 
that he has some trouble with his chest, and that he has 
been spitting blood. If this is the case how could I receive 
him if he suffers from his chest? Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 208. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Various recommendations relative to the works of the saint 
and to the interests of the Congregation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NoCERA, June 22, [1755]. 

Let me know what business Father Margotta has trans 
acted with [D. Benedetto] Grazioli, if you have any news 
about it. 

Don Andrea Villani asks and begs that an alarm-clock be 
sent to the place where he is [at S. Angelo a Cupolo]. 
Have patience; you may keep for yourself the English 
clock with the alarm, and send the old one to Don Andrea. 

I expect Father Apice ; he is to drink first the mineral 
waters, then he is to go to Sorrento to give a novena or a 
retreat. He will come on the loth of July. 

I send six copies of the Pratica. 1 Later when I have an 
1 This little work has the title " Pratica del confessore per ben 



376 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

opportunity, such as to return to you the conveyance to 
bring Father Apice, I will send you the second volume L 
with other copies of the Pratica to sell. 

Then you must inform Father Caprioli of the cost of the 
second volume. The Moral Theology is sold at twenty 
carlini? An appendix has been added, and it cannot be 
sold for less. The Pratica costs one carlino. 

As for all the books sold and that are to be sold, and all 
the other books which you will require of me do not write 
to me, but have in everything an understanding with Father 
Caprioli; the care of them has been intrusted to him by 
Father Saverio [Rossi] who pays for the printing. 

I have already received news of Father Margotta through 
Father Ferrara. Tell therefore Father Margotta that as 
soon as he receives anything from Grazioli he should at 
once come here to see me ; we shall then see what is to be 
done. 

Should Father Fiocchi be with you, tell him that I have 
written to him two pressing letters, to return at once to 
Iliceto, because his presence is needed there. 8 Let him 
speak to Father Giovenale. Tell this secretly to Father 
Fiocchi, so that he should set out at once. 

It would be well if in kind words, without dispute, you 
could obtain a diminution from the tax. 4 If you succeed in 
doing so, you must thank all those who have in any way 
assisted us. 

Let me know all about your affairs and what has been 

esercitare il suo ministero." (Practice of the confessor for the 
worthy exercise of his ministry.) 

1 The second volume of his Moral Theology. 

2 Twenty carlini = 8 fr. 50 centimes. 

3 Father Carmine Fiocchi was then Rector of the house at 
Iliceto. 

4 To understand the meaning of this, see note added to the letter 
dated August 5, of the year 1755. 



I755-] Letter 20$. 377 

done in regard to the tiles. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 

LETTER 209. 

To Sister Maria Vincenza Giannastasio in the Monastery 
of the SS. Annunziata at Cava. 

Behavior that she should adopt in the state of desolation in 
which she finds herself. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, June 22, [1755]. 

I answer you briefly. I have read your letter, and I feel 
more happy because of the desolations through which the 
Lord has made you pass than if you had written to me that 
you had wrought ten miracles. 

All the lights, inspirations, knowledge and intimate 
communications with which you have hitherto been favored 
came from God; of this I assure you in his name. Now 
God wishes you to be a saint without delay; and it is 
because he wishes you to be really a saint that he has put 
you into the state in which you are. 

In this state continue to persevere in all your exercises. 
I also permit you, when you have time, to make another 
half hour s meditation ; finally, continue your Communions 
and all the rest. As for meditation, always make it with a 
book, and use for this purpose my little work; especially 
read the considerations on the Passion of our Lord, and 
more particularly the affections that follow them. 

In the state in which you are, you have to perform more 
frequently three things when you pray and communicate. 
You should, first, humble yourself, by acknowledging 
yourself worthy of severe chastisements. Secondly, resign 



378 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

yourself entirely to the will of God, and offer yourself to 
remain during your whole life and during eternity in this 
state of pain, and even in still greater pain if it is God s 
will. Thirdly, abandon yourself absolutely to the arms 
of the divine mercy. 

Have frequent recourse to the Blessed Virgin. Let your 
acts of love ordinarily consist in an entire offering of your 
self to God. Finally, always recommend me to Jesus 
Christ. 

Confidence and courage ! I see that Jesus Christ wishes 
to make you really a saint. 

I thank you for your little present. I do not wish you to 
take again so much trouble. 

Live Jes us, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 210. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Recommendations in regard to various works of the saint. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, June 28, [1755]. 

Send the enclosed letter to Ripacandida at the first 
opportunity. 

It seems to me that I have sent you a certain number 
of copies of the Pratica for the use of your Community. 
Now I send ten more to be sold. Show them to those 
that come to visit you. In regard to the cost of the copies 
of the Pratica, I answer as I did in regard to the Pratica 
and the Moral Theology, have an understanding only with 



1755-1 Letter 2 1 1. 379 

the Fathers at Ciorani, 1 and punctually send them what 
they order. 

The second volumes I will send you at the first op 
portunity when your conveyance returns, so that they may 
surely arrive. 

I expect [Father Bernardo] Apice when he comes to 
drink the waters at Castellammare . Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! I also expect Father Margotta as 
soon as he has settled his affairs with Grazioli. Live Jesus 
and Mary! 

BTOTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 

LETTER 211. 

To the Same. 

Various recommendations about different subjects. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! 

NOCERA, June 30, [1755]. 

You have appointed Father Margotta to perform certain 
labors, now that we stand in need of him ; but what is 
done is done. I beg you, however, do not in future 
arrange any exercises within the month of June, unless it be 
at the beginning of the month. 

As for the missions which the Archbishop [of Conza] 
wishes us to give it is sufficient that you have mentioned 
this to me. Answer neither yes, nor no; do not accept any 
more missions, nor hold out any hopes for any more; 
because in the coming year I do not know whether we shall 
be able to give even one mission there, especially in winter. 
Now when the time arrives and it will be necessary to give 

1 Father Saverio Rossi, Rector of the house at Ciorani, and Father 
Pasquale Caprioli, the Minister. 



380 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

the promised missions atBenevento; I shall send my excuse 
to the archbishop. 

Let Father Apice be here about July 10, to drink the 
mineral waters. 

For Polestra and Melaccio 1 it wil be necessary to procure 
letters dimissory. 

In regard to Mgr. di Muro the affair is settled. 2 I have 
written to him that Francesco Antonio de Paola is with us, 
that when he wishes he may send for him. 

As for closing the church, you have to come to an 
understanding with the archbishop. 

As to the econome, your Reverence is the Rector. Ap 
point Brother Gennaro for this charge if you think fit ; and 
Brother Gasparo you may employ wherever you please. 
Afterwards I will try to send him with Father D. Andrea 
[Villani, of S. Angelo a Cupolo]. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

When Father Apice comes, send me all the second 
volumes that you have there, 3 because I wish to insert some 
sheets and have them bound; and then I will send them 
back. This I will do when the conveyance that brought 
Father Apice returns. I will send you the second volumes 
to-day if the young carrier will take charge of them, to 
gether with six copies of the Pratica and two of the 
Dissertations on probable opinion^ 

1 D. Vito Polestra and D. Donate Melaccio, natives of the arch 
diocese of Conza, who were then to receive Holy Orders. 

2 The Bishop of Muro, Mgr. Vito Moio, was greatly displeased at 
the entrance into our Congregation of young Francesco Antonio de 
Paola, his diocesan. 

3 The second volume of his Moral Theology, to which he wished 
to add Elenchus 99 qiiestionuvi post pritnam editionem anni 1748 
reforviatarum . 

4 The work " Pratica del confessore per ben esercitare il suo 
ministero," of which mention has already been made, and the work 
" Dissertatio scholastico-moralis pro usu moderate opinionis pro- 
babilis in concursu probabilioris." 



1755-1 Letter 2 1 2. 381 

I send you also a package containing copies of the 
Elenchus for the second volume; have them distributed 
among those that have the first edition of the work. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I embrace and bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

Tell Father Margotta to read the letter at once. Live 
Jesus and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved at our house of Monterone at 
Rome. 

LETTER 212. 
To the Same. 

He enjoins upon him obedience to the physician. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, 6. [July, 1755?] 

Before speaking of other things I must tell you that you 
do not belong to yourself but to Jesus Christ and the 
Congregation; hence you must take care of your health 
and be obedient. 

In a word, I tell you that you must obey the physician in 
all things, just as the Rule commands us to do, either on 
the one hand by eating no more food prepared with oil, or on 
the other hand by taking the medicine that is prescribed. 
Moreover, during the day you must sleep at least half an 
hour, and during the night, six full hours. 

What shall I say in reference to the letters dimissory 
of the young men? I pray to Jesus Christ to grant me 
patience. I have also written a petition to the archbishop, 
which you will please forward as soon as possible. If an 
answer comes addressed to you, open it; and if you see 
that the archbishop remains inflexible, ask Father Margotta 



382 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Jn my name to go himself to the archbishop and to ask for 
this favor, etc. Write also to the Vicar-General, and thank 
him specially for me for all that he has done with the arch 
bishop in favor of these young men. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 



LETTER 213. 
To the Novice Luigi Capuano, 1 at Ciorani. 

What was to be his behavior under difficult circumstances 
in regard to his vocation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

SARAGNANO, July 16, 1755. 

My dear Brother, summon up courage! I am confident 
that God expects great things of you, since hell creates so 
much noise in order to draw you away from your vocation. 

It may perhaps happen as I have told you, that you 
must go by order of the king to some monastery, to be 
examined in regard to your intention. Recommend your 
self to the Mother of God, and fear nothing. 

To the monastery your relatives will undoubtedly come 
to tempt you, and the monks themselves will practise the 
devil s art under pretense of appeasing your father and your 
mother; they will represent to you that it is a matter 
of conscience if you thus bring ruin upon them. Make no 
account of such scruples ; if they wish to be ruined, it will 
be their fault. Tell them that in order to appease them 
you cannot imperil your eternal salvation by losing your 
vocation, which is quite certain. 

Do not doubt that, after this trial at the monastery, your 
relatives will no longer annoy you. 

1 Luigi Capuano, born at Cava, June 21, 1739, was admitted to 
the novitiate, July 14, 1755. 



I755-] Letter 2 i 4. 383 

Pay attention to this point : if you go to the monastery, 
do not believe what certain religious may tell you; they 
have been gained over by your relatives, and will give you 
a thousand reasons to induce you to return home. If they 
come, be careful not to listen to them, and be sure that 
they wish to deceive you. Hence as soon as they begin to 
perform the office of the devil, dismiss them in a kind 
manner. Do not undertake to answer them, because they 
will succeed in perplexing you. The best thing would be 
not to answer, but to say that you will recommend your 
self to God in order to find out his will; and then rid 
yourself of them in this way. 

I say this, not that you must now pray to God that he 
may make known to you his will, since he has already 
made it known to you in making you understand that he 
wishes you to be a member of the Congregation ; but this 
answer will deliver you from their importunities. By 
saying that you are praying to God to enlighten you in 
regard to his will, you will silence them, and thus force 
them to retire immediately. 

Since Father Tannoia is not there, be guided by [Father 
Alessandro de] Meo. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in our house at Prague, Bo 
hemia. 



384 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 214. 
To Sister Maria Vincenza Giannastasio. 

She should, notwithstanding her interior desolations, per 
severe in her exercises of piety. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

SARAGNANO, July 21, [1755]- 

Your whole letter pleases me. One thing, however, 
would give me pain ; it would be to hear that you are now 
abandoning the career upon which you have entered. 

Courage, then, and firmness ! Continue the exercises 
that you have begun, although they may be to you like the 
pains of hell; continue, and be assured that you will 
certainly become a saint. 

I have told you already, and I repeat, that according to 
the rules laid down by the saints it is clear to me that the 
state of desolation and pain in which you find yourself will 
last a long time ; perhaps it may last even till your death. 

No, it is not true that God has abandoned you ; on the 
contrary, he loves you more than before ; but he wishes to 
try you, and to consume in the fire of tribulations the rust 
which your past faults has attached to your soul. Take 
courage, then, and go on. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



I755-] Letter 21$. 385 

LETTER 215. 
To the Novice Luigi Capuano. 

Additional advice as to the trial to which he was to be 
subjected. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, July 22, [1755]. 

My dear Brother : Your relatives have already addressed 
to the king a memorial, in which they say that you entered 
the Congregation, having been misled by an elder brother, 
who had interested motives, and that y oil were taken against 
yoiir will to our house at Ciorani; moreover, that the 
Fathers, seeing your mother advance to embrace you, rudely 
repulsed her and caused her to fall to the ground, to the 
great scandal of all. See what lies and what calumnies ! 
Now this memorial they did not present to the king, but 
they carried it to Mgr. Borgia, who has written to me that 
we must satisfy your relatives in having you examined as to 
your intentions in a place where you would be under no 
restraint. Monsignor must, therefore, be obeyed. 

Do not fear ; for everything will turn out well, and so 
also the bishop thinks. We shall send you to Naples to 
the Chinese College, the Superior of which and those that 
are there are my friends ; all will favor your vocation. If, 
however, your relatives send priests or religious to find out 
your intentions, answer according to the letter that you 
sent me last. 

It was with regret that I read in your letter that you had 
experienced a very violent attack on your vocation, words 
that made me doubt at first about your constancy ; for I 
feared that you had somewhat listened to the temptation. 
I was, however, consoled by what you afterwards wrote to 
me, namely, that you knew perfectly well what you have 
25 



386 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

to do, and that you would resist every temptation until 
death. 

Always recommend yourself to the Blessed Virgin ; and 
when a suggestion from hell is made to you, do not reason 
about it, but simply answer by pronouncing the names 
of Jesus and Mary. Do not allow yourself to be shaken ; 
after this struggle I hope that your relatives, that is I 
should say, your enemies, will become quiet. I bless you. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 2l6. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

He charitably excuses the defects of a subject. Various 
matters. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

CIORANI, August 3, [1755]. 

My dear Don Gasparo : What shall I say about Father 
N.? He believes that he is doing right when he does those 
things, and disturbs others and also himself; and I fear, as 
I have frequently said, that the devil may on this account 
make him one day lose his vocation. He is, however, 
humble, zealous, observant of the Rule, and loves the 
Congregation; but he labors and engages in work with 
such a passion that he disquiets himself and others. What 
is to be done? Every one has his faults. I have more 
of them than others. 

As to Brother Gerardo, fiat voluntas tua! [Thy will be 
done !] I send him the blessing. 1 

In regard to the grain, those at Pagani wish that I 

1 The Venerable Brother Gerardo Maiella was then collecting for 
the building of the house at Caposele, and he died shortly afterwards, 
that is, October 15, 1755. 



I755-] Letter 2 17. 387 

should write to you to send them ten tomoli. 1 I have 
answered them : What right have you to ask for these ten 
tomoli? Now I have written that your Reverence had spoken 
to me in your last letter about debts, provisions that you 
have to buy, etc. 

For the rest, if your Reverence could send them, as 
if of your own accord four or five tomoli, it would be well. 

As to the sick Fratres, I am glad that they are somewhat 
better. Say from me to Frater Melchionna that Father 
Ferrara has said nothing to me, that he was feigning 
sickness, and that if he had said anything to me about it, 
I would not have believed him ; tell him to take care 
of his health, to do the will of God, and remain quiet. 

Let twenty-five carlini be sent to us, as I have spent 
that amount for repairing a copper-plate engraving of the 
Madonna. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 

LETTER 217. 
To the Novice Luigi Capuano. 

He advises him how he should behave in the temptation to 
which his vocation is exposed. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 4, [1755]. 

Your relatives have become somewhat pacified, but not 
entirely ; and as I hear, your father and your mother are 
going to Ciorani to tempt you by tenderness and by false 
reasons. Be on your guard ; this will be the last assault ; 
do not give a chance to the devil to raise a laugh at your 
behavior up to the present day. 

Yet while reading in your letter that you are continually 

1 Ten tomoli = 5^ hectolitres; a hectolitre being equal to 2 bu. 
and 3-35 pks. 



388 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

agitated by temptations to give up your vocation, I cannot 
help fearing for you. But it is not on account of these 
temptations ; for as long as you recommend yourself to 
God and repel them, there is nothing to fear. What I fear 
is, that you give too much ear to them, that you reason 
with them, and that you do not take care to have recourse 
to Jesus and Mary when they come. If you act differently 
from what I tell you, you will lose the grace of vocation 
and of eternal salvation ; for your vocation is clearer than 
the noonday sun; if you lose it, what will become of you? 

I should like you to write to me again and to tell me 
what motives the devil proposes to you to leave the 
Congregation after you have so much desired to enter it, 
and God has given you so many graces to enable you to 
do so. Is it perhaps your fondness for your relatives? 
But why? To please your relatives should you wish to 
abandon Jesus Christ who has deigned with so much love 
to call you to a life of sanctity ? Is it perhaps because in 
the Congregation one has to suffer ? Enough of this ! for 
I am only speaking to the winds, not knowing in what way 
the devil wishes to entrap you ; this is the reason why I 
beg you to write me in detail what are your temptations. 

For pity s sake ! my dear D. Luigi, do not expose 
yourself to lose this precious crown that Jesus Christ is 
preparing for you. When an infernal thought enters your 
mind, represent to yourself the moment of death, and 
consider what remorse you would feel if you had the 
misfortune to die out of the Congregation after having 
abandoned God on account of some earthly purpose. Ah, 
how I should regret to see you lose your vocation ! The 
efforts that Lucifer has made to excite your relatives, or 
rather the enemies of your soul, to do what they have 
done, convince me that if you remain firm, you are destined 
to do great things for God ; for all those who in the 
Congregation have been engaged in these terrible contests 



I755-] Letter 2 17. 389 

with their relatives , without allowing themselves to be 
shaken, have afterwards done marvellous things. 

For mercy s sake, when the temptation presents itself, 
repel it forcibly and indignantly by invoking the holy 
names of Jesus and Mary, and often repeat these all- 
powerful names. Renew then your resolution by saying : 
No, my Jesus ! I do not wish to leave Thee ; no, never ; 
should I even be obliged to die on account of my resolution. 
And if, notwithstanding all this, the temptation does 
not leave vou, go if you have permission, to the foot of the 
altar, before the Blessed Sacrament, or throw yourself, in 
your room, at the foot of the crucifix, and sigh and pray in 
this manner : My Jesus, help me ; I do not wish to leave 
Thee; no, no, no! -- Then without delay confer with the 
Master of novices about your temptation ; and if it be 
necessary, write always to me. 

I wish to help you as much as I can ; but if you neglect 
to have recourse to Jesus Christ and to the Blessed Virgin, 
who is the Mother of perseverance, and to consult the 
Master of novices, I regard your vocation as lost. Look 
at poor N. and poor N. on the point of leaving the Con 
gregation, yet without their own fault; oh, how I pity 
them ! and you should voluntarily listen to the suggestions 
of hell by returning to the world, so as to become the 
laughing-stock not only of hell, but of your whole diocese, 
of Bishop Borgia, and of everybody! I hope to God s 
goodness that this may not be so. 

Every morning, on rising, I beg you, renew the firm 
resolution to persevere in the Congregation, and always 
repeat it during meditation, at your Communion, at your 
visit, and at your examination of conscience. Always 
invoke Jesus and Mary, and consult your Father Master. By 
acting in this manner you need not fear to lose your vocation. 

I bless you and I await your next letter so as to know in 
what way the devil tempts you. I recommend you to 
25* 



3QO General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Jesus and Mary; do also the same for me. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 2l8. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 
He counsels holy revenge. 1 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 5, [1755]. 

I have heard in what a complimentary manner the 
people of Caposele have acted towards you. Well! we 
must try to revenge ourselves! Be therefore careful to 
increase almsgiving at the door, and be liberal to those 
that ask alms. Besides, take special care of the con 
fraternity of which those ungrateful men are the members. 

What I regret is that these disturbers of the peace will 
leave the confraternity and not have the courage, to return 
to it ; for from this will arise a spiritual injury for which I 
am more sorry than for the temporal. Try therefore and 

1 Father Caione speaks of this fact in the juridical depositions for 
the beatification of the saint (Summar. n. 18, 93): "The house 
of Caposele," he says, "was burdened with a seigniorial tax, above 
the sum which his Majesty, Charles III. had assigned us; the latter 
sum amounted to about four grains a day [about 20 centimes] for 
each subject. I succeeded in having the Municipal Council con 
voked to abolish this enormous tax of forty ducats [170 frs.] annually ; 
as the tax exceeded the sum given us as an alms by the king; but 
all in vain. I found myself covered with shame and confusion ; 
every one contradicted me. I thus reported the whole affair to the 
servant of God, and he answered in the following terms: As the 
people of Caposele have treated us so well, it is necessary to think 
of avenging ourselves; but how shall we do this? Listen: be more 
liberal henceforth in dispensing alms, be more assiduous in the 
confessional ; when you are called to the sick run without any 
hesitation ; do not complain of the wrong done you ; let this be your 
revenge. " 



I755-] Letter 21 9. 391 

ask others to try by kind words to induce them not to give 
up the confraternity ; invite them especially if it be neces 
sary, without however making mention, particularly in 
sermons, of what has happened. During the novenas let 
the preacher encourage them to frequent the confraternity. 

As for those that have conducted themselves so loyally, 
you must thank them in a special manner ; and it might be 
well, if you think fit, to go from house to house to thank 
them ; at least you will derive the advantage that they will 
remain attached to us. What else could we do ? Such is 
the world. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 219. 
To the Novice Luigi Capuano. 

Happiness that one enjoys in the Congregation. Answer 
to several objections. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

SALERNO, August 7, [1755]. 

I have read your last letter, and I am consoled to hear 
that you are adopting the means to overcome the temp 
tations of the enemy. 

As for your relatives, besides Jesus Christ, the Blessed 
Virgin, and the saints, who are to you more than a father, 
a mother, and brothers, are we not also brothers to you ? 
Your relatives love you, but as enemies, because they wish 
that which will make you lose your soul ; we, on the 
contrary, love you as true friends, desiring to see you 
happy in this life and in the next. Happy, I say, even in 
this life ; for the pleasures of the world do not satisfy the 
soul, while a holy life with the innocent recreation that the 
Congregation permits, is able to delight the soul, because 
in such a life it finds God. In the beginning you may not 
entirely enjoy this peace, since you must first overcome the 



392 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

temptations by which God wishes to try you ; but after the 
victory one enjoys the peace that surpasses all the delights 
the world and the senses can procure: qu<z exsuperat 
omnem sensum [which surpasses all understanding]. 

Besides, as you see, it is not true that with us we are 
always shut up in the convent. When you are a priest you 
will go on missions the greater part of the year, moving 
through the country in order to save souls. 1 

One dies young. This is not true; for many among us 
enjoy better health in the Congregation than they enjoyed 
in the world. And after all, if die we must, can there be 
anything more beautiful than to die for the love of Jesus 
Christ? Of what use is life, if we do not employ it for 
God? 

how much was I pleased by what you wrote at the 
end of your letter concerning your relatives ! Thank Jesus 
Christ and his holy Mother, who have inspired you with 
these holy sentiments. Courage then ! let us sanctify our 
selves, and pray to Jesus Christ for me. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 220. 

To Sister Maria Nicoletta Leoni (Di Calvanico), in the 
Monastery of S. Giuseppe at Fisciano. 

He recommends to her resignation to God s will. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

SALERNO, August n, [1755]. 

1 have received your first letter enclosing a honorarium, 
and the Mass has been said. I received your second letter 
to-day here at Salerno, also enclosing a honorarium; and 

1 Luigi Capuano became later a great missionary, but he had 
not the good fortune of dying in the Congregation, as we shall see 
further on. 



I755-] Letter 221. 393 

to-morrow I will say the second Mass for you in order that 
the Blessed Virgin may obtain for you the grace that you 
desire. But you should be fully resigned to the divine 
will; if not, the Blessed Virgin will not grant you the 
grace. I recommend myself to your prayers. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I did not answer you the other day, as I did not know 
whether you were at Fisciano, your letter not indicating 
the place where it was written. If I answer you to-day, it 
is because I learned by chance that your letter came from 
Fisciano. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of the Leoni family at 
Calvanico. 

LETTER 221. 
To Sister Maria Vincenza Giannastasio. 

He encourages her to suffer contradictions in a Christian 
manner, and gives her important advice. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

SCALA, September 14. [1755?] 

I write you from Scala where I received your letter. All 
the storms, both exterior and interior, which you experience, 
I have foretold you. They are the cause of affliction to 
you ; as for me they afford me consolation. 

How happy am I to know that you are treated as a 
foolish woman ! Be courageous, and continue to be thus 
foolish for the love of Jesus Christ. 

The words of your confessor were for you a cross harder 
to bear; but he spoke to you with the best intentions. For 
the rest, I repeat my appreciation and the former obedience 
that I have imposed upon you, and I assure you on the 



394 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

part of the Most Blessed Trinity that you are in the grace 
of God. Not only does God wish your salvation ; not only 
has he pardoned your sins ; he also really wishes you to be 
a saint if you persevere. 

Be then firm in omitting nothing of what I have told 
you; and unceasingly pray to Jesus and Mary to obtain 
perseverance. To this you should always come back, for 
the persecutions are great, and I believe that they will 
become greater. 

If you think fit, confide entirely in the ordinary confessor, 
and beg him to speak in your defence to the Superior 
of the convent in order that you may be able to live in 
peace. If you do not wish to make this offer to the 
confessor, beg at least the bishop to come to see you; 
expose to him in a general way the past and the present 
state of your conscience, and tell him what I have advised 
you to do. Monsignor can indeed render you a great 
service by ordering that you should be left alone. 

To go to the parlor ? To see your relatives ? There is 
no longer any question about that. Henceforth there should 
be for you only God, and nothing else. 

Take care not to omit the common exercises, and to 
attend them punctually; fulfil also the duties of your em 
ployments, and render service to the Community as much 
as obedience imposes this upon you ; for if you fail in this 
point, you may be attacked and may be charged with 
illusion. But how could this be done, if you never fail in 
any of the duties of your state of life ? 

The attractions that you feel from time to time, I am 
convinced, come from God. It is God that draws you to 
his perfect love by communicating his strength to your soul 
in order to resist the storms to which you are exposed. 
They are, you may be sure, not illusions, but divine 
favors, and great favors, which God grants to you in order 
entirely to gain your heart. Regard this as certain, an 



I755-] Letter 221. 395 

your poor soul will in this conviction take courage to resist 
the attacks of temptation, of distrust, of all kinds of con 
trarieties. 

If the persecutions should continue, I should be happy, 
I repeat, if you could have an interview with the bishop ; 
for he is a man of God, is prudent, and well understands 
how to guide souls. He will encourage you and deliver 
you from the annoyances which the religious and the 
directors may cause you. 

Follow then my advice and continue the Communions, 
prayers, mortifications, and all the rest. However, when 
ever you are not very well, omit without scruple your 
mortifications according to the degree of your infirmity; 
and in doubt, do rather less than more. 

If you speak to Monsignor tell him that it is I who have 
wished you to have this interview. You would also do 
well, in ordinary doubtful things and daily difficulties, to 
consult your ordinary confessor, whoever he may be, and 
to obey him if he imposes something upon you, or if he 
diminishes for a time your various exercises. I say for a 
time; for, as a general rule, I do not wish you to omit 
anything that I have arranged for you. I speak thus 
because, being far away I cannot direct you in all things 
that daily occur. For the rest, go on, and have not the 
least doubt that you are on the right road. 

In your Communions always pray for me and for the 
Congregation, especially at this time when our wants are so 
great. I bless you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DK LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



396 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 222. 

To the Same. 

She should accept a charge without objection. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, October 16. [1755?] 

I answer your letter in a tardy manner; for I have been 
ill for a long time. 

As for the office of attendant at the turn, if it is intrusted 
to you, accept it without objection. The distractions that 
it will cause you will be distractions which God wishes. 

You will have, you tell me, a thousand eyes fixed upon 
you. I am delighted that this is so, for you will thus be 
more attentive not to commit faults. Otherwise they will 
say: See the saint! how beatitiful is her speech, how 
beaittiful is her conduct! Let me know whether you have 
spoken to Monsignor. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your very humbly servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 223. 
To the Same. 

He exhorts her to tend to perfection with courage and 
perseverance. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, November 2, [1755]. 

For pity s sake, no more presents. I thank you, but I 
desire of you but one thing : it is that you devote yourself to 
the task of becoming a saint. Why speak to me of coming 



I755-] Letter 223. 397 

to preach a novena? I set out for Benevento in a few days 
with nearly all my companions. 1 

The answer that you gave to Monsignor afforded me 
great pleasure. See how God comes opportunely to your 
aid through your Superiors ! Be then faithful, and do not 
leave the path on which you are now walking, even though 
you should have to combat hell within and without. 

Above all, do I recommend to you to be faithful to your 
accustomed prayers as long as your services are not needed 
by the Community. I also recommend to you detachment 
from all, and from myself in particular, since I can assist 
you only from afar. I have written out for you certain 
rules; observe them, and imagine that I am always re 
peating to you what I have said and written to you. 

I send you the new edition of the little work called the 
Visits, printed by D. Benedetto Gessari ; hymns are added 
to it, and at the end you will find a treatise on the will 
of God. As all perfection consists in conformity to the 
divine will, you may little by little use this short treatise 
even for meditation. 

Always recommend me to Jesus Christ in your prayers 
and in your Communions. I wish you to receive holy 
Communion every day, except on one day of the week. 
Communion will obtain for you perseverance. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After a copy. 

1 In the journal of Father Pasquale Caprioli we read this notice: 
" November 14, 1755 , Father Rector Major went to give a mission 
at Benevento, and returned with Father Spera to Pagani, De 
cember 12," 



398 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 224. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

He reproaches him for incurring a superfluous expense. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

November 16, [1755]. 

I saw Brother Francesco, and having asked him what he 
had been doing at Naples these past days, 1 I received the 
answer that he had been looking for a copy of St. Augustine 
which he expected to purchase for forty ducats. But I 
know that you already have St. Augustine in your library. 
Why then make such an outlay ? You will say that the 
copy which you have is badly printed ; but I answer it is 
sufficient that it is a copy of St. Augustine, and a copy that 
is suitable for us poor people. 

Then I should like to know with what money you have 
made this purchase. If it is money from uncertain rest 
itutions, I should feel scrupulous about exchanging it for a 
better printed copy of St. Augustine ; if it is money from 
Don Gerardo, 2 the priest who has been received, I wish 
also to have a word to say ; since I am bankrupt on 
account of the many expenses that I have made; and 
on the other hand , I find myself indebted to the 
amount of thirty ducats for the work on the Expla- 

1 Brother Francesco Tartaglione, having finished the penance 
of which we have spoken in the letter of May 10, 1752, was sent 
back to Naples where he lived as he had always till his happy 
death in a house of the Congregation. At that time St. Alphonsus, 
while on his way to the mission at Benevento, was staying for two 
days at Naples with his mother who was seriously ill, and thus it 
happened that the Brother spoke to him about the purchase of the 
works of St. Augustine. 

2 D. Gerardo Gisone, born February 10, 1720 at Recigliano, in 
the diocese of Muro, made his profession, September 8, 1756, and 
after a virtuous life, died in 1765. 



1755-1 Letter 225. 399 

nation of Scripture. The publisher calls for his money, 
and I know not what to do. If it is the money of that 
priest, we should at least divide the sum between us. 

You have in your house two bad Consultors, Fathers 
Fathers Apice and Leo, who wish to have books in a 
grand style, but not in accordance with our poverty. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa 1 

If you have any money to spend I would rather have you 
buy the works of Bellarmine, Spondano, Rinaldo (Com 
pendium of Baronius), the library of Mansi. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the monastery of the dls- 
calced Carmelites at Modena. 

LETTER 225. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia, Rector of the House at Iliceto, 
and Master of Novices. 1 

He forbids him to incur a superfluous expense. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BENEVENTO, November 17, [1755]. 

I have heard in what misery you find yourself. For the 
present I do not see how you manage to live. There is 

1 In the general catalogue of the Congregation we read the 
following statement: "In the General Chapter held on the I5th 
of October of the year 1755, after deliberately weighing the matter, 
it was decided by the Fathers assembled in Chapter to admit into 
the Congregation youths who have attained the age of sixteen years 
and six months, whereas formerly they could not be admitted before 
their eighteenth year. The climate of Ciorani has not proved very 
beneficial to the novices ; besides, by reason of the many courses 
of spiritual exercises held there the number of those following 
the exercises being at times two hundred the novices were disturbed 
and distracted; it has therefore been decided to transfer the 



400 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

but little income to be hoped for. The lands are not 
leased. But you would say : Let us go to Iliceto; let us go 
to Iliceto}- And now have you anything to live on there ? 

Could not your Reverence in this embarrassed state of af 
fairs avoid certain expenses ? I tell you and beg you to expend 
no money except for what is absolutely necessary for your 
support. If this produces no eifect, you will all have to 
remove to Ciorani. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 226. 
To his Brother D. Ercole de Liguori. 

He begs him to ask for him the blessing of his dying 
mother. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BENEVENTO, November 23, [1755]. 

Yes ; to serve you I have already written to Brother 
Francesco [Tartaglione] to assist you until God calls our 
mother to himself. 2 How greatly am I consoled that she 
is now undisturbed by scruples ! 

novitiate to Iliceto, to the house of Santa Maria della Consolazione. 
The place was truly well adapted for a novitiate, being far removed 
from all the noise of the world ; the novitiate was placed under the 
care of Father Antonio Maria Tannoia, Rector and Master of 
novices." Thus far the catalogue. 

1 Father Tannoia had done his utmost to have the novitiate 
transferred to Iliceto. 

2 His pious mother died a few days after the saint had written 
this letter, and he received the news of her death with perfect 
tranquillity. The following is what Father D. Pasquale Caprioli 
says of this event in his juridical deposition (Sum. n. II, 43): 
" His virtue was heroic on hearing of the death of his most pious 
mother. Donna Anna Maria Cavalieri was a lady of so religious a 
spirit that she daily recited the divine Office like a cloistered nun, 
and was so exact and scrupulous in regard to the fasts of the Church 
that she observed them most rigorously notwithstanding her old age, 



I755-] Letter 226. 40 1 

Here we are giving a large mission in the city of Bene- 
vento ; there is a great concourse of people, and there are 
eighteen Fathers engaged . We shall stay here for a 
month. There is no other news. 

Send me the ornament which was promised by you to 
the Blessed Virgin ; it will serve to adorn her crown. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Ask mother s blessing for me and tell her that God and 
the Blessed Virgin will surely secure for her eternal sal 
vation. And I have recommended her to the prayers 
of the people. Live Jesus and Mary! 

Your very affectionate brother, 
ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of the Boccafogli family at 
Rome. 

being ninety-four years old when she died. She led a devout life 
and practised mental prayer, in which she was directed by her own 
son. Our servant of God heard the sad news of his mother s death 
while giving a mission at Benevento, and without having lost his 
self-possession he preached in the evening, and merely told the 
people in a quiet way that they should recommend to God the soul 
of his mother." 

Moreover, Father Nicole- Grossi in his juridical deposition (Sum. 
n. n, 154) speaks thus: "I saw him perform an heroic act 
of resignation to the divine will when he received the news of the 
death of his mother at Naples. We were to go with him to a 
mission in the city of Benevento. Having heard that his mother, 
whom he himself directed in the ways of God, was ill on account 
of her advanced age and other indispositions, he sent us ahead on 
the usual Bracigliano road, he himself taking the road to Naples 
where he arranged all the spiritual affairs of his mother, and then 
set out for Benevento. A few days after, he received a letter 
announcing her death. He came to table with us, and before 
dining he said in a tranquil manner without having lost his com 
posure that he had received notice of his mother s death ; and that 
on the following morning we should have the charity to apply the 
Mass for her soul ; in a firm voice he intoned the prayers recited 
26 



402 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 227. 
To Father Pasquale Amendolara,! at Pagani. 

Various recommendations. Some details in regard to 
the mission at Benevento. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BENEVENTO, November 23, [1755]. 

I rejoice to hear that Father Mazzini is better, but he 
might have waited a little while longer and not set out 
while suffering from fever. 

You did well in regard to Prater [D. Fabrizzio] Cimino. 
Your Reverence should write to Father Caione to speak or 
write for me it would be better to have an interview - 
to the Archbishop [of Conza] in behalf of Polestra and 
Melaccio. But in the mean time Polestra and Melaccio 
should prepare for the examination for subdeaconship, 
because the archbishop will come to examine them. It is 
necessary for them to know the treatises de Horis canonicis, 
de Ordine, and especially de Subdiaconatu, with the treatise 
de Sacramentis in genere. Tell Father Siviglia to direct 
them in this matter. 

I send to Ciorani the manuscript of Father Mazzini. 

As for Frater [D. Ignazio] Fiore, the affair is being 
arranged. 

I have already written to Ciorani and to Naples for 
copies of the Moral Theology and of the Pratica. 

Here the mission continues amid a great concourse 
of people. On Saturday a mission will begin at four other 
places, and we shall give one to the nobles. There are 

before meals. Both I and my companions were filled with admiration 
at such virtue." 

1 Father Amendolara, born at Contursi, in the diocese of Conza, 
December 20, 1723, entered the Congregation in the year 1747, and 
died, May i, 1758. He was greatly beloved by St. Alphonsus, 
because he was full of fervor and a man of great talent. 



I755-] Letter 227. 403 

many that wish to enter our Congregation, but are moved 
to do so by the exercises and the missions; their vocation 
must however first mature. 

We have made great friends with the Jesuits. Here 
there is being established a beautiful congregation of young 
ecclesiastics to make them good apostolic laborers. 

I bless you all, and especially the students. I will 
return about the 2ist of December. This time will appear 
to me a thousand years. So far I have been ill twice. 
Now I am well, and am at work. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
Father Spera is at work and gets along. Live Jesus and 
Mary ! 

Tell Father Mazzini to mention in Chapter that it would 
be a very great fault if one, when writing to any one of us, 
would put on the letter the words matters of conscience and 
the letter should contain nothing of the kind. 

Write this also from me to Father Caione so that he may 
speak of it in Chapter. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

If you have an opportunity, send me some more copies 
(the small edition) of the Visits printed at Naples. Find 
out the time when the conveyance comes from Ciorani to 
this place. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Send a hundred Visits to Ciorani so that they may be 
sent to me at the first opportunity. Live Jesus and 
Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 



404 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 228. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

The measure in which accessory sciences should be studied. 

NOCERA, December 15, 1755. 

As for the cornices, that is understood ; leave 

them in the choir, because the choir belongs to the church. 1 

I have heard some whispering that Father Leo wishes to 
teach mathematics, or geometry. For the principles of 
geometry and the four rules of arithmetic, concede [I grant 
permission] ; for more, no. Even Father Mabillon, who 
was at the head of learned men, forbade this to the religious. 
Tell Father Leo that by all means the course of philosophy 
should be finished in two years. I regret to see in the 
Congregation that the spirit of vanity and useless erudition 
is gaining ground to the detriment of important sciences 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 229. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia, Rector, and Master of Novices 
at Iliceto. 

Advice in regard to the health of the subjects, to useless 
expenses, to the practice of mortification. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 31, [1755]. 

In regard to Ansalone, Father Ferrara has written me a 
fiery letter. He tells me that it is suspected that he has 
been spitting blood. Hence as to his admission, tell him in 

1 A little before, the saint had written thus to the same Father : 
" Know that I do not wish to have cornices at the doors, in the 
choir, or in the library. Have patience ; if you have put them 
there, have them taken away and see that everything be made plain. 
Poverty loves simplicity and what is necessary, not what is super 
fluous." 



I755-] Letter 229. 405 

my name that he must have patience, and that he should 
wait another month, in order that it may be more surely 
seen how his health will be, especially since his father has 
written that he was suffering from costiveness. Let him in 
the mean time not be dejected ; I will afterwards shorten 
his novitiate. 1 

I say that he should still wait another month ; but when 
he has been once received, and has been sent by me into the 
country to see whether he will recover, what need is there 
of a new admission ? However let us give this satisfaction 
to Father Ferrara, by keeping him in suspense for a month. 
But though he may have been received a second time I 
should have to dismiss him if he has a relapse. 

Ansalone himself writes to me that he is perfectly well. 
Tell him in my name to take courage; he is already a 
member of the Congregation; why should he fear? If he 
continues to remain well, he shall be one of us ; but if bad 
health returns, his admission will not hinder him from 
being sent away ; let him be patient and cheerful. 

Let us now come to a matter of greater importance. 

You write me that bread is wanting But why incur 

so many useless, or unnecessary expenses, expenses that 
are out of proportion to the present scanty resources of this 
house, or hardly conformable to the obedience that I have 
given you not to incur any expense except through sheer 
necessity? For pity s sake, do not now think any more 
of making improvements in the building, nor of any other 
expense but what is absolutely necessary. At present 
remain as you are ; provide for your wants as well as you 
can ; later on we may think of doing these things if divine 
Providence will permit us. According to what I learn 
there is a debt of a hundred and sixty ducats at Lacedogna ; 

1 This was done. Giambattista Ansalone was admitted to the 
novitiate, January 24, 1756, and made his profession September 8, 
of the same year. 
26* 



406 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

there are also debts at Foggia ; and there is a want of oil, 
grain, wine, etc.; well! to what a pass will you find your 
self reduced ? Are you going to feed on grass, or will you 
be imprisoned for debt? I shall at last be obliged to treat 
you according to the rumors that now prevail at Ciorani. 

The Chapter 1 against my opinion has permitted the 
giving of a second glass of wine to any one that expresses a 
wish for it ; but you must inform the novices that he that 
does this always or without a real necessity will give very 
little edification, and show but little mortification. I beg 
you to pay particular attention to this matter; for when 
there is question of profession I will ask you about it. 

As regards having two rooms made for yourself, give up 
the idea for the present ; later on we shall speak of it. 

Prater N. writes to me for sweetmeats; I send him 
something that I withheld this morning from the young 
people among whom they were to have been distributed. 
I should have been better pleased had the novices asked 
me for mortifications and the means of loving Jesus Christ, 
rather than for sweetmeats. 

The novice D. Gerardo [Gisone] writes to me that he is 
quite content, etc.; pay particular attention to him ; for 
priests in the novitiate have more temptations than others. 

I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

I send you the hymn of St. Aloysius. 2 Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

After the Roman edition. 

1 The Chapter that was held at Pagani in the month of October 
of the same year. 

2 This hymn in honor of St. Aloysius is found among the works 
of the saint (Vol. ix. page 438). 



1756.] Letter 230. 407 

LETTER 230. 

To the Student Don Mauro Murante, at Melfi. 1 
He permits him to return to Pagani. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

PAGANI, January 7, 1756. 

I have read your letter, and it has so much affected me 
that I cannot help granting your request. Come, then, to 
this house at Pagani; but travel in the most convenient 
way possible, and take, I beg you, the same precautions 
as at your departure for Melfi. Choose also for this journey 
favorable weather and less frightful than we have at present. 
I am here waiting for you. Do not forget to bring me the 
accounts that you will be able to collect in regard to 
Brother Gerardo. 2 

While awaiting the pleasure of seeing you soon, I embrace 
you in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[P. S.~\ I am expecting you, my dear Prater Mauro, 
and hours appear to me to be ages ; but whether you are 
sick or well, it suffices that you belong to God. Do not, 
however, set out, I beg you, in damp weather, and as 
much as possible protect yourself against the cold. 

I bless you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
BROTHER ALFONSO,. 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of a family at Melfi. 

1 Mention will again be made of Mauro Murante in a subsequent 
letter. He was born at Melfi, May 6, 1735; he received the habit 
of our Congregation February 13, 1754, and was professed December 
24 of the same year. 

2 The Venerable Brother Gerardo Maiella used to stay with the 
Murante family whenever he came to spend some time at Melfi. It 
was, therefore, this family that furnished the account of the miracles 
wrought in this city by the holy Brother. (See Life of Brother Gerard.) 



408 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 231. 
To Father Gasparo Caione, at Caposele. 

The sending of some points with regard to the Life of the 
Venerable Brother Gerardo. Various counsels. Seditious 
pretensions of the lay-brothers at Iliceto. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, January n, [1756]. 

I have received your long letter which you first wrote 
to me. 

I understand that St. Augustine s works were already 
bought, but I was wishing you would have bought Petavius. 
But have patience ; let us divide the twenty ducats. For 
in the destitution in which I am (and God knows how great 
it is) I have bought this Commentary on Scripture, and I 
am half sorry for it ; nevertheless it is certainly useful ; it 
gives only the literal sense, but it is a sense that is indeed 
very necessary for one to know. 

Please inform me whether the Archbishop [of Conza] is 
in the diocese or at Naples. If he is in his diocese, write 
to him from me to ask him whether he will allow Prater 
[Don Vito] Polestra to take Orders in tribus diebus, as the 
young man has completed his studies, has abilities, and 
has attained his twenty-sixth year. 

I send you hererewith the notes taken by Father Gio- 
venale 1 on the Life of Brother Gerardo. Preserve and 
take a copy of them as well as you can, as I have asked 
you to do. See also about the time that you can devote to 
this matter. It would be well for you to spend about a 
quarter of an hour every day on the work, and thus you 
will finish the work gradually. I send you also your own 

1 The Venerable Brother Gerardo had died, October 15, 1755, and 
Father Giovenale having been his director for a time, he had written 
an account of his Life just as Father Caione had done. 



1756.] Letter 231. 409 

manuscript; it will serve to remind you of a great many 
things. 

I am glad that the seminarian Guglielmo has joined us. 
I would wish you to write to him to procure the permission 
of the archbishop before he sets out for Naples. His 
resolutions under the form of promises to the Madonna are 
truly full of tenderness. 

As for Father Nittoli, I told him to continue to act as Prefect 
according to what you wrote me in your last letter. Tell 
him, however, from me that he should make no dif 
ficulty in giving absolution even several times a week to 
those of our Fratres who accuse themselves only of venial 
sins, past or present, provided at the time there is no habit 
of relapsing into sin and even when there is no extraordinary 
sign. 

With regard to the contributions, 1 do as seems best to 
you. 

I bless all and especially the Prefect of the students with 
all his subjects. 

Inform me of the number of retreats that you will have 
to give during this Lent. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa. 

Have a watchful eye upon the lay-brothers, and do not 
allow them to claim rights. At Iliceto there has been a 
semi-revolution on this subject. The Brothers maintained 
that they should take precedence of the novices; that they 
should make the common acts after dinner, and not in the 
evening after having toiled all day, as is customary in 
other houses, now that the winter is here ; and that they 
should have the privilege of taking a siesta 2 after dinner, 
which they have not now, as the days are short and the 
night s sleep is sufficient. Moreover, they assert that the 

1 See Letter of August 5, of the year 1755. 

2 Siesta, the taking of an after-noon nap, practised by people 
of hot countries and by other people. 



4-IO General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Carmelite lay-brothers and the Franciscan lay-brothers gained 
the exemption from washing dishes, and I do not know what 
other privilege. A fine state of affairs, truly ! Hence your 
lay-brothers have to perform the common acts every 
evening. Do not allow the siesta during the day, unless 
there be a real necessity for it. As for washing the dishes 
and serving at table, it will suffice to have the chorists do 
this occasionally, with interruptions, and when the lay- 
brothers have had special work to perform. 

Finally, let us carefully avoid customs that may after 
wards give rise to disputes. Read my letter to Father 
Apice ; read it to the chorists of the house, and then send 
it as soon as possible to Father Apice. 1 Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of our convent of Saint- 
Trond, Belgium. 

LETTER 232. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia, Rector of the House at Iliceto. 

Punishment that he should inflict upon the seditious lay- 
brothers. The study to which he should devote himself, 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, January 13, 1756. 

I have just read of the fine doings of the Brothers. All those 
that have conspired to go away deserve to be expelled. I 
will however pardon them this time. But I cannot pardon 
the novice-brother; send him away at once. As however 
he is the ring-leader and hot-headed, I fear that he might 
do you some harm or might lead astray some other Brothers, 

1 Father Apice, Minister of the house at Caposele and as such 
charged with the care of the lay-brothers was at that time occupied 
in the work of the missions. 



1756.] Letter 232. 4 1 1 

if you dismiss him from Iliceto. Hence I should say that you 
send him to another place, for example to Lacedogna, or 
elsewhere, with a letter addressed to some friend, telling 
him that as the bearer is no longer a member of the 
Congregation he should do me the favor of dismissing him. 
Enough ; do as you think best, but expel him immediately, 
and endeavor as I have said to prevent a scene. 

Then take the habit from Brother Giacomo until further 
orders ; he should eat his meals outside of the refectory, 
and receive Communion only on Sundays. 

Since they have mentioned the dispute among the Car 
melite and Franciscan lay-brothers, take care that no new 
custom be introduced in regard to serving at table and 
washing the dishes. For the beginning at least see that as 
heretofore the lay-brothers are made to wash the dishes 
and to serve at table, and only from time to time but ivith 
interruptions appoint the novices to do this work. 

It does not matter that on this account it will be necessary 
to free the Brothers of other work. But enough on this 
subject. Let us keep up our customs, let no other customs 
be any longer mentioned, and let the Brothers avoid saying: 
That is none of our business. 

Call all the lay-brothers to you, one at a time, and tell them 
that I am angry with them, etc., and let them read the 
enclosed letter that I have written to them. Call Brother 
Cesare and tell him privately from me that he should be 
watchful to see who murmurs and complains, and report 
the matter to you ; you should then communicate the name 
of the culprit to me. Tell him that he should at once 
reprimand the one that says a word. 

I also hear at the same time of your miseries. I do not 
know how you can subsist without grain , without oil, 
without linen, and without money. I send you ten ducats 
(and I give fifteen carlini to the Brother for his journey) : 
but will this be sufficient? I am thinking of imposing 



412 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

a little tax on all the houses. But with all this shall 
we succeed in remedying the evil ? 

Father Ferrara writes me that he could send away Frater 
Vitelli on the ground that there are doubts about his 
patrimony. If it is certain that he has none, he cannot 
of course be received. He has however been already 
received ; it is true, he is deficient in talent, but he behaves 
well. When Father Villani comes consult him and write 
to me. 

In regard to Father Villani, I have indeed made him 
Visitor; but you need not send for him during this 
carnival, and make him leave the many missions that he 
has to give. 1 It is sufficient if he comes during Lent. 
Write to him at once to remain where he is. It would 
have been better, before writing to him to come, you had 
written to me. 

I have written to Ciorani that they should send you a 
copy of the "Glories of Mary." 

I allow you to have duplicate books of devotion for the 
novitiate; but I cannot allow you to read Cassiano and 
Alessandro. How head-strong you are! I should rather 
have you read half an hour every day my Moral Theology 
so that you may be able to hear confessions. Are you 
never to hear confessions ? It is not for want of intelligence. 
You must acknowledge that in this matter there is some 
tepidity, or may be laziness, on your part. Study at 
least the principal treatises, as de Prceceptis Decalogi, de 
Peccatis, de Poenitentia, de Matrimonio, de Censuris, de 
Charitate, de Conscientia and de Le gibus. I mention those 
treatises that you have not yet read. I do not wish to 
impose this upon you under obedience, but try to study 
them when you can. 

1 Father Villani was at that time Rector of the new house at 
S. Angelo a Cupolo. 



i 75 6.] Letter 233- 4 r 3 

I bless all and especially the novices. Live Jesus, Mary t 
Joseph, and Teresa 1 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of the house at 
Pagani. 

LETTER 233. 
To the Lay-brothers of the house at Iliceto. 

He complains of their conduct and threatens them with 
punishment. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, 13, [January, 1756]. 

Dear Brothers : God knows what great pain it caused me 
to hear of the faults committed by you in so short a time, 
faults especially of pride ; it should be your duty to acquire 
the virtue of humility which is the virtue proper to lay- 
brothers. 

Well (speaking in general), I pardon you all; but I beg 
you not to force me to chastise you again for such chastise 
ment may and will draw after it eternal punishment : if you 
oblige me to expel you from the Congregation, I do not 
know what will become of you ; I should tremble for your 
eternal salvation. 

Do not think to intimidate me by saying that you wish to 
leave. Every day I am forced to refuse admission to men 
who wish to enter the Congregation; however even if no 
new-comers were to arrive, Brothers might be obtained 
from other houses, where they happen to be numerous. 

Hence I beg you not to talk any more about leaving, for 
that alone would induce me to dismiss you from the Con 
gregation. 

Now that the winter is here, you will make the common 
exercises of the day in the evening, for then you have time, 



414 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

as you have not to study like the chorists. Moreover, as 
the days are short, the siesta is not necessary ; the night s 
sleep is sufficient for you. That is the practice in the other 
houses. 

I ask you, if you were at home living with your relatives 
would you rest and make your exercises during the day, or 
would you work? We should always be charitable to 
those who are not in so good health as we, for they need 
our charity. You are always to take the last place, after 
the Fathers, students, and novices. What a shame, to see 
Brothers claiming precedence ! 

The Carmelites and the Franciscans are members of Orders, 
making solemn vows ; you on the other hand, belong to a 
Congregation in which the Rector Major can dismiss subjects 
whenever he sees fit to do so. 

The duties of the chorists are to preach, to hear con 
fessions, and to study. The office of the lay-brother is to 
serve and to do whatever he is commanded. Understand 
well, that serving at table and washing dishes are the duties 
of the lay-brothers; sometimes and only sometimes the 
chorists may perform these duties, but only to make them 
practise humility. 

Well now; do not cause me any more displeasure; I 
love you as brothers, but I wish you to become holy. 
Of what use is it to enter the Congregation, if you do not 
wish to become saints ? Now the virtues that are necessary 
for your sanctification are, humility, obedience, and patience ; 
without suffering there can be no true sanctity. 

I bless all the Brothers who have a good intention, and I 
curse those who have a bad intention ; and remember that 
my curse will be accompanied by that of Jesus Christ. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and Teresa ! 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



1756.] Letter 234. 415 

LETTER 234. 
To Father Gaspare Caione. 

He again refers to the treatment to be given to the lay- 
brothers to prevent subsequent disorders. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, January 16, [1756]. 

I believe that I have written to you in regard to the 
Brothers, that they should make the common acts in the 
evening in winter during which the days are short, and that 
they must do without the hour of repose as it is permitted 
only to the chorists. 

Now in reference to the hour of repose my wish is that 
you inform the Brothers that half an hour, if not a whole 
hour, of rest will be granted to those that need it. In this 
matter you must be governed by prudence. At all events 
the practice of the Brothers taking an hour s rest in winter 
must be stopped, since it is permitted only to those that 
study. 

I recommend to you, besides, that you take care that 
the Brothers nearly always wait at table and wash the 
dishes. It will suffice that the students do this work once 
or twice a month. Exhort these Brothers not to murmur, 
since those that did so at Ciorani are now suffering punish 
ment, and will have to suffer it for some time to come. 

In future, I shall probably not admit the Brothers to 
profession till after a probation of ten years. Tell, there 
fore, the new Brother of Grazioli 1 that I will receive him, 
but only on condition, now imposed on all others, that he 
must serve as a secular for several years at least during 
four years before it will be permitted him to enter the 
novitiate. Your Reverence must not, therefore, -during 

1 Probably a new Brother admitted on the recommendation of D, 
Benedetto Grazioli of Atella. 



41 6 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

your Rectorate, apply to me for permission to give him the 
habit. 

As for those that have already received the habit and 
that are to be professed, you must inform me of the least 
faults that they commit, as I may perhaps defer their 
profession. These good Brothers, after they have made 
their profession, are apt to become proud. Live Jesus, 
Joseph, Mary, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 235. 

To Father Girolamo Ferrara,! Minister of the House 
at Iliceto. 

He declares his intentions relative to the religious profession 
of the lay-brothers. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

PAGANI, January 18, 1756. 

Brother N. wishes to enter the novitiate according to 
what he writes to me. Tell him that he may enter for 
some time, say two or three months, according as you 
think proper. 

Tell, moreover, the novice-brothers, who have or who 
have not yet received the habit (and tell each one in 
particular, each time, so as to prevent the forming of plans), 
that I have no intention to admit to profession the lay- 
brothers except after a very long trial of their virtue. For 
this purpose take care to gather information, mark" down 
on paper and send it to me, what are the particular defects 
of the lay-brothers that are in your house, so that I may 

1 Father Ferrara, born June 9, 1715, made his profession, March 
25, 1748. He was a learned man and rendered many services to St. 
Alphonsus in the publishing of his works. How excellent his life 
was may be inferred from the words of the holy Founder, who called 
him a man dead to his own will. Father Ferrara died, August 22, 
1767 at S. Agata de Goti. . 



1756.] Letter 236. 417 

use your report as a legitimate pretext when they asked me 
to admit them to profession. It has been remarked that 
these good Brothers after their profession begin to relax in 
their fervor and that they become very imperfect. Live 
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

As for Brother N., it is well that he enters the novitiate ; 
but in order to receive the habit, he will have to wait a long 
time. What I have said in regard to others, I also say in 
regard to him ; for if I am indulgent towards him, I shall 
be obliged to be so towards others. 

I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 236. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Expression of disapprobation on the subject of the mission 
given at Potenza. Conditions essentially required that mis 
sions, and above all important missions, may be accepted. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

NoCERA, 19, [January, 1756]. 

First remark. It appears that a mission is to be given at 
Potenza. I had already refused this mission, and I therefore 
do not understand why you accepted it. 

I have said to myself, and I say so again : This mission 
at Potenza, in view of the number of subjects whom you 
will employ and the inconveniences that they will suffer, 
will be for you an occasion of a conspicuous failure. You 
yourself, my dear Father, are suffering from a severe cold 
in the chest; on the other hand, Potenza is a place where 
the cold is extreme. I really cannot understand how you 
can go there. 

I beg you, therefore, that as soon as you can travel and 
you have had a favorable journey, return to Mater Domini 
(Caposele) and do what the physician tells you. If he 
27 



41 8 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

orders you to go to bed, remain in bed till your cold has 
disappeared ; for a cold so obstinate might kill you, or at 
least disable you for the future. For the sake of one 
mission you might render yourself unfit for all the missions 
that you might give afterwards. 

As for this mission at Potenza, I should have wished you 
had first spoken to me ; I should have examined whether it 
would prove successful. For this work you would need 
fourteen or fifteen of the best subjects ; as the city is a 
difficult place to preach in. But the date has already been 
fixed; what is to be done? I do not forbid you to give 
the mission, but I say that it might easily be dropped ; you 
are in fact too few, and several among you are still young. 
If then it were possible to put it off till the next year, it 
would be preferable. For the rest, I refer the matter to 
Father Fiocchi ; but tell him from me that when there is 
question of so large and so important missions, I wish to be 
informed in advance. 

Since you tell me not to send either of the two Brothers, 
I will not send him. But you must know that the Brother 
for whom you asked us is not fit to transact business outside 
of the convent. 

Father Fiocchi (I see from his letter) wishes to have 
Father Cimino. At present I will write that he should be 
sent if this can be done ; but you may be sure that he will 
not come. In fact, missions that have been engaged and 
promised are to be given at Ariano, and without Cimino it 
will be impossible to give them. You see what happens 
when we thus accept at random missions, and difficult 
missions. 

Read to Father Fiocchi all that I have just written, that 
is, all that regards this mission at Potenza which has given 
me so much annoyance. All could have been arranged 
if you had sent me word. Now you are to go back to the 



1756.1 Letter 236. 4 1 9 

convent ; Father Cimino will surely not come : indeed that 
will be a fine mission that is going to be given ! 

As for Father Apice, if he also suffers from his chest, 
I do not wish, I do not wish, I do not wish him to preach 
the evening sermon. When we have lost a subject, all the 
inhabitants of Potenza would not be able to restore him 
to us. 

This then would be my opinion: It being now settled 
that you cannot take part in this mission, that Father Apice 
is also suffering, and that Cimino cannot come, Father 
Fiocchi would have a good reason to withdraw his word in 
regard to Potenza. He should simply write: Several 
Fathers have fallen ill, and the others are engaged. 

Steps have been taken to give the mission at Potenza, 
but as for the missions to be given at Conza, asked for by 
the Archbishop [Mgr. Nicolai], have they been given or 
not? I do not wish the missions at Conza to be omitted 
in order to give other missions. Why do you wish to 
make the archbishop indisposed towards us ? 

Don Benedetto Grazioli writes to me that he is most 
anxious to have the consolation, that at the baptism of a 
child expected by him from day to day, Father Margotta 
should fulfil the duties of parish priest and Father Fiocchi 
those of sponsor. I am sending a messenger to Naples to 
have Father Margotta come, since I cannot refuse this 
consolation to Don Benedetto, and I dispense from the 
Rule in this case. Tell then Father Fiocchi to put off the 
day on which he is to go to Atella; or rather, I am going 
to write to Don Benedetto that at the desired moment he 
should send for Father Fiocchi. The latter, when he 
arrives at Atella should ask Don Benedetto (as I have 
already written to him) to send at once to Benevento the 
whole amount that he wishes to give ; for if he sends it little 
by little, it will be used in paying the expenses of the 



420 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

building, and the house would derive no income that would 
assure its future. 

Grazioli writes to me that he has sent or will send (I do 
not well understand him) five hundred ducats for Benevento. 
If they have reached you, or as soon as they reach you, 
send them to me in order that I may determine the use to 
which they should be applied. 

I hear at this moment the following piece of news : The 
mission has begun at Potenza, and notwithstanding your 
cold in the chest you have begun to preach the evening 
sermons. Gloria Patri! Here is once for all the general 
rule : I forbid every one suffering from a cold in the chest 
or an obstinate cold, I forbid him, I say, to preach the 
evening sermons, especially in places where people are 
hard to please ; and it matters little whether we give up a 
mission already begun. You must then examine what is to 
be done in the present case. Here you see what it 
is to burn one s vessels without thinking of the future. 
This mission at Potenza has been of singular torment 
to me. 

In regard to the mission at Capaccio, I hope to provide 
for it with the subjects of this house ; but as to Castellucia, 
it is incumbent on you to think of it. 

To return to the mission at Potenza, I see that my letter 
will embarrass you. I do not however wish to cause you 
trouble; this is the reason why I refer the matter to the 
decision of Father Fiocchi, who will judge what is best to 
be done. Yet as for risking the health of the subjects, 
especially that of Father Apice and yours in making you 
preach in spite of all, I beg Father Fiocchi to be prudent 
so that I may not grow angry as I fear I shall be obliged 
to. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

{Postscript written by the hand of the saint}: I am not 



Letter 2 37. 421 

very well; recommend me to Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the original preserved in one of our houses in the 
French Province. 

LETTER 237. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia, at Iliceto. 

Mistake to be remedied in the case of a lay-brother. - 
Punishment inflicted on the guilty ones at Ciorani. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NoCERA, January 20, 1756. 

I wrote that you should dismiss the novice-brother; but 
you may have noticed that I was mistaken when I believed 
that he (as appears I indicated in my letter) had committed 
some impertinence by employing force to remain in his 
room. But now I hear that the one who committed this 
fault was Brother Andrea, who is already professed ; him I 
cannot send away merely on this account, but he deserves a 
severe penance. 

Besides, Brother Bartolomeo, that is, the novice, as I see 
from the letter of Father Ferrara, did not commit such a fault 
as to deserve to be dismissed. So I hope that you have 
understood the mistake and have not yet sent him away. 

I have spoken kindly to Brother Giacomo and he 
confessed his guilt. Hence as regards the penance that he 
as well as Brother Andrea and all the rest have deserved, I 
leave all to your Reverence and to Father Ferrara. 

I do not write with my own hand, because I have been 
ill these past four days ; I therefore do not write specially to 
Father Ferrara. It will be sufficient to let him read this 
letter. 

As for Frater [D. Fabrizio] Cimino, his illness is not 
serious, and I will have him take here some little remedy. 
27* 



422 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

At Ciorani justice 1 has been done. I have dismissed 
Brother Crescenzo ; he had murmured and then refused to 
do the penance. Brother Carlo and Brother Giuseppe 
Trombetta of Naples are confined to their rooms \carcerati~\. 

All the others that have murmured have been put under 
penance. Brother Domenico is confined to his room here. 

I bless all. Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 238. 
To the Same. ~ 

He asks him to assist a Brother tempted against his 
vocation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, January 21, 1756. 

Brother N. writes to me that he is disquieted and on the 
point of losing his vocation ; that such a trouble should also 
come upon us ! I have answered him firmly and kindly. 

Try if possible to calm him by kind treatment. Allow 

1 In consequence of the unjust complaints of the lay-brothers in the 
house at Iliceto, the saint took away from the Brothers in all the houses 
the hour of sleep (siesta) during the day. This decision created also a 
semi-revolution among some of the Brothers in the house at Ciorani. 
The sad event is thus narrated in the journal of Father Pasquale 
Caprioli: "January 15, owing to some murmurings among the 
Brothers at Ciorani three of them one at Pagani, and two at Ciorani 
were confined to their rooms for eight days. This penance was 

given to Brothers Carlo, Giuseppe and Domenico; then January 20, 
Brother Crescenzo of Sarno was dismissed for not wishing to submit 
to the foregoing penance." 

2 This short letter is a postscript added by him to a letter written 
to Father Tannoia by a student, Frater Pietro Paolo Blasucci. 



1756.] Letter 239. 423 

him more sleep, if he wishes it. O my God! these 
Brothers ! 

Brother N. has asked me to admit him to the novitiate ; see 
whether you can allow him to make a part of it. However, 
I have told him that no one should speak to me about 
receiving the habit till the lapse of several years ; and as for 
the vows many years will have to pass by. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 239. 

To the Same. 

He refuses to dismiss a subject. 

[End of January, 1756.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

As for Brother [Bartolomeo] I have no reason to send 
him away. I first wrote that he should be sent away, but 
through a mistake I thought that he had done what Brother 
Andrea has done. I therefore wrote that he should be 1 
kept ; now how could I send him away ? 

Let us see how he behaves himself; and if he behaves 
badly, he may afterwards be dismissed, and then he may 
feel sorry, but I shall not. I shall feel sorry for my own 
sins, but not for this act of justice. 

You wrote me about the priest of N. that he is suffering 
from lunacy. Now you write me that this fact is doubtful. 
You should therefore see (now is the time) whether he is 
really suffering from such a disease. 

I am glad to hear that those that have received the 
habit l are doing well. 

I bless all, and especially the novices. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

1 Those that had just received the habit (January 24, 1756) were 
the priest D. Gerardo Gisone and the acolyte Giambattista Ansalone. 



424 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 240. 

To Father Girolamo Ferrara, at Iliceto. 
Conditions required for dismissing a subject. 

[End of January, 1756.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I have written to Father Rector on account of Brother 
Andrea and Brother Bartolomeo. 

For pity s sake, let Father Rector not trouble me so 
much about these Brothers ! When I have written and 
decided something, of what use is it to torment me again 
about it? 

I have already written to him that Brother Bartolomeo 
should stay; why urge me again to send him away? 

After admission grave reasons are required to dismiss a 
subject; and after profession, we must have very grave 
reasons joined with incorrigibility ; without this it is a 
mortal sin to dismiss him. 

I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 241. 
To Father Gasparo Caione, at the Mission Given at Potenza. 

He forbids any postulant to be sent him without his pre 
vious permission. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NoCERA, January 30, 1756. 

I received your two letters, and I am greatly surprised to 
see that you have not received my letter which I recom 
mended to our people at Ciorani to send at once by a 
messenger. However, you will soon receive it. 

The letter contained a complaint about the mission that 
was begun by you when I had refused to give it at least at 



1756.] Letter 241. 425 

the present time, and when your Reverence and Father 
Apice were suffering from a cold. I hope to God that in 
future this may not again happen. You will read the rest 
in my letter. 

I hear now that the mission has been successful. How 
wonderful ! No mission had for a long time been given at 
Potenza. But it would have succeeded far differently had 
it been given at the proper time and with a sufficient 
number of Fathers. 1 

Gloria Patri! Within a short time you have sent us 
four young men without having first informed us that they 
would come. From this day forward (and tell this to all 
most especially) send me no one without having first 
informed me, and before I have sent a favorable answer. 

The two young men have been admitted ; but the tall 
one I had already dismissed because he is only very medi 
ocre, and we are not now in a condition to receive those 
that are mediocre ; there are enough of us, and there is no 
bread. But then there was so much weeping, and I felt so 
much compassion for him now that he had made such a 
journey that the Consultors themselves proposed him to me 
to admit him. 

But we no longer wish to be exposed to receive any 
more subjects through compassion. And so remember, 
and I repeat, tell this to all, to send me no one, no one, no 
one, if I have not told you that he may come. But all this 
it seems to me your Reverence already knew. 

I bless all. Father Cimino 2 should come here im 
mediately after the mission at Rocca is finished, because a 

1 The city of Potenza is an episcopal See, and had at that time a 
population of 6585 souls. 

2 It appears that D. Fabrizio Cimino because of his illness, 
of which mention is made in a letter of the 2Oth of this month, was 
sent for a change of air to the mission at Rocca. In this letter he is 
called Father, but it seems that he was not yet a priest, having been 
born March 29, 1733. 



426 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

great deal is to be done ; and I would also wish that Father 
de Meo should come. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



LETTER 242. 

To Father Francesco Pentimalli. 1 
He exhorts him to perfect obedience. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA February u. [1756?] 

My dear Francesco: I have learned with pleasure that 
you have recovered from your illness ; but I was somewhat 
pained to hear that you have given to the Superior and to 
your brethren an answer that was rather sharp. 

Many things may appear to us preposterous, which are 
nevertheless right for us, when they have been dictated by 
obedience. If every subject wished to do what seemed best 
to him, there would be at end to obedience. 

I beg you then to be patient when certain things seem to 
you to be what they should not. When you have given 
your opinion, then become quiet; it will be sufficient that 
you reserve to yourself the privilege of writing to me or 
of orally reporting to me what seems to you to be suitable. 

I beg you for the rest of the missions to stand by what- 

1 Father Francesco Pentimalli was born, September 20, 1714, at 
S. Eufemia, in the diocese of Mileto, in Farther Calabria. He had 
already been ordained priest before entering the novitiate, February 
13, 1751; he made his profession in the presence of St. Alphonsus 
October 2 of the same year. While setting out in company with 
several other Fathers for the missions of Sicily, he was overtaken by 
death at his native place, S. Eufemia, November 15, 1761. He was 
truly an apostolic man of God. 



1756.] Letter 244. 427 

ever the Superior ordains; afterwards, when you return, 
you may tell me all. 

I bless you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 243. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia, at Iliceto. 

He sends him different kinds of help. 

[February, 1756.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Take care of Prater N. who is suffering from catarrh ; see 
that he does not take cold. 

I again send two pounds of chocolate for those that have 
a cough or have a cold. 

I also send ten ducats to help you a little in your distress. 

I bless you all, especially the novices. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 244. 

To the Same. 

Measures to be taken in regard to various subjects. 

[February, 1756.] 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

First of all in regard to the Masses of [Father Pasquale] 
Basile, there is some commotion at our house in Ciorani ; 1 

1 It was customary that when a Father was sent to another house 
to assist at a mission, he continued to apply the Masses to the 
intention of the house to which he was ascribed. Father Basile 
therefore having been sent from Ciorani to help the Fathers at 
Iliceto should have said Mass to the intention of the house at 
Ciorani ; hence the Fathers at Ciorani created a commotion about 
which the letter speaks. Whereupon the saint ordered Father Tan 
noia to remedy this confusion. 



428 General Correspondence. [PART r. 

I approve of the application of Masses such as you have 
made for this house. But in regard to the Masses that you 
have applied to yourself you must by all means have them 
supplied ; because we must keep up the established custom, 
namely, that the application of the Masses does not change, 
whatever may be the temporary changes of residence among 
the subjects. 

As for the priest Saltarelli, try to have him go away as 
soon as possible. Think of some way and of some pretext. 
However, by all means see that he is sent away at once. 
And tell him that it is not necessary for him to corne here 
to importune me, because this would be a loss of time, since 
I have good reasons for believing that the Congregation is 
not made for him. 

As for the physician, what is to be done ? There are no 
such deficiencies, etc. I have written to him. Read the 
letter that I am sending to him, and then give it to him. 

As to the young man of Resina, since he is suffering 
from pains in the limbs, there is no reason why he should 
stay in the Congregation. Tell him that all our houses are 
very cold, and he would thereby soon lose his health. 
Induce him to go away. I feel sorry for him, for he is a 
good young man ; but there is no remedy ; God does not 
wish him to be in the Institute. 

I say the same thing in regard to the two other young 
men from Ischia and Bosco. They are good, but not good 
for us. 

Say, however, to these two that I do not dismiss them 
altogether; I wish only that they should go home and 
re-establish their health ; for as soon as they have become 
well, I will receive them ; and so let them go away with 
this certain hope. Send them away, however, in their 
secular dress. 

As for Prater [D. Francesco Antonio] de Paola I have 
ordered that he should be sent. 



^756.] Letter 245. 429 

I bless you all. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
In regard to the two Brothers, Saverio and Domenico, 
if they do not do what they should, they will be dismissed 
without fail. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of our house at 
Pagani. 

LETTER 245. 

To the Same. 

Project of a foundation at Matera. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NAPLES, March 6, 1756. 

As soon as Father Villani arrives tell him it is impossible 
for me to send Father Amarante, as we are overburdened 
with work, which even with Father Amarante s assistance 
we can hardly accomplish ; the mission is very large. Nor 
is it possible to send any students, for I do not wish them 
to be taken away from the study of Moral Theology ; 
otherwise they will not be able to go out on future missions. 

The house at Benevento had too many missions this 
year. 

Touching the matter of Matera, 1 I do not desire to say 
anything either to favor the undertaking or to hinder it, 

1 Tannoia tells us in his " Life of St. Alphonsus" (Book ii. chap, 
xxxix.) that King Charles had proposed to the saint to undertake the 
reform of an ancient and respectable Order. " According to the 
king s plan, St. Alphonsus and his companions were to take the 
habit and the name of this Order without, however, relinquishing 
the observance of their own Rule ; moreover, they were to give 
missions in the same manner as hitherto, and to act in every matter 
as it should seem best to the saint." Thus far Tannoia ; it appears 
to us this affair of Matera and the reform proposed by the king are 
identical. 



430 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

because it will be difficult for us to find later on a foundation 
as advantageous as that, and even to have another foundation 
in the kingdom under like circumstances. This reasoning 
appears to me to be just. However, God will help us, and 
I shall not accept it until I see everything well arranged. 
But the affair will hardly be allowed at Rome, since there is 
danger of giving offence to a great religious body. 

All that I have said has also been admitted by the 
Cardinal [Sersale], who has also promised not to throw any 
impediment in the way. 

Tell also Father Villani that I recommend to him among 
others the young man from Torrecuso. 1 

Should D. Andrea [Villani] not come in time to receive 
this news, you will please write it to him, and thus spare 
my head, which God knows how it fares when I am eating 
nothing. There is nothing else. May you keep well! 
Live Jesus and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

{Postcript written by the secretary}: Father Rector Major 
says that the person sent by Don Benedetto Grazioli may stay 
as long as he wishes. 

The young man from Panni is always writing to me ; see 
whether you can grant his request. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

1 This candidate from Torrecuso, in the archdiocese of Benevento, 
was young Giuseppe Maffei. He was admitted to the novitiate May I 
of this year. 



Letter 246. 43 1 



LETTER 246. 

To Sister Maria Nicoletta Leoni (Di Calvanico), in the 
Monastery of Fisciano. 

He earnestly recommends to her to resign herself to the 
will of God. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NAPLES, March 9, [1756]. 

Your letter has reached me here at Naples. I shall say 
the Mass for you to-morrow; but you may be sure the 
Madonna will not obtain for you the grace that you desire, 
because your prayer has mistaken its object. 

You should ask for patience and not for health ; and even 
this last, it seems to me, you ask with but little resignation. 
If in asking for patience, or at least for health, you were 
resigned to God s will, you would more easily obtain 
both. 

Do what I tell you : Ask in future that you may be able 
to bear patiently not only sickness but the contempt that 
you receive from your Sisters. To suffer as Jesus Christ 
has suffered, to suffer and to be despised to suffer even 
without exciting the compassion of any one, can anything be 
more meritorious for gaining Paradise? 

Think of it: with the numerous infirmities which you 
suffer, your life will be but little prolonged. Try then to 
provide for merits during the short time that still remains 
to you. 

Drive far from you the horrible temptation of leaving the 
monastery. Ah ! do you wish to run the risk of losing 
your soul? 

Now that you have read this letter kneel down, or even 
from your bed, make to God an entire offering of yourself, 
and beg him to treat you as he pleases. Unite also your 



432 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

pains and your annoyances to those that Jesus Christ had to 
suffer. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 247. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Solicitude of the saint for the house at Iliceto and for the 
health of the students. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NAPLES, March 20, [1756]. 

The first thing that I have to ask you, my dear Gasparo, 
is to take up again the work on Scripture. I am not 
exactly pleased with it myself. 1 Yet it is after all Scripture ; 
at least in Communities it may be of great benefit. 

Secondly; at Iliceto the novices are in want of the 
necessaries of life, and are suffering very great misery. I 
have, therefore, been thinking of removing them from that 
place. For the present I have ordered to be sent to them 
ten ducats from Ciorani and five from Pagani ; I now ask 
you to send when you can ten more ducats. 

As for Prater Michele [de Michele], I do not wish that 
he should study. It will do no good if he has a relapse, 
and we shall lose all that we have gained. It will be 
sufficient if he sometimes goes to class and listens a little to 
what is said. Let him walk out and take exercise. After 
Easter send him to the missions that are to be given with 
Father Fiocchi, at first at S. Angelo, etc. 

Tell Frater Castaldo that I participate in the consolations 
1 This work on Scripture did not please him as it gave only the 
literal sense. See Letter of January n, 1756. 



756- ] Letter 248. 433 

that he enjoys; let him pray to God for me. I do not send 
him a special answer as I am about ascending the pulpit to 
preach. 

I have promised you Father Fiocchi for a change; but 
being here I do not know what arrangements have been 
made by the Fathers of Nocera and Ciorani to whom I 
have intrusted the giving of all the spiritual exercises. 

Here much good is done by the Congregation. I bless 
you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 248. 
To Sister Maria di Gesu, Carmelite at Ripacandida. 

Counsels regarding observance and resignation. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

PAGANI, April 22, 1756. 

In answering your letter I am using the hand of another 
to write to you, for it is only a little while ago that I 
recovered from serious illness. 1 Here is my answer in a few 

words. 

1 After having spent at Naples six or seven weeks, occupied with 
the affairs of the Congregation and preaching with an indefatigable 
zeal, St. Alphonsus returned to Nocera de Pagani to spend there 
Holy Week, to contemplate according to his custom the mysteries 
of the Passion of our Lord. He had scarcely returned when he fell 
dangerously ill, and his illness lasted from April 10 to 17, that is, 
from the Saturday before Palm Sunday till Holy Saturday. " It 
would be a fine thing," he said, " to die during Holy Week," and 
he repeated three times the words : " Oh, what a fine thing would it 
be to die in Holy Week ! for my illness is serious," he added. 
Father Caprioli having answered: "Let us leave it all to God," 
" yes," said the saint, " what God wishes I also wish, and his good 
pleasure is mine." On the first clay of his illness he had one of the 
students, F rater Buonassisa, to read to him the Proficiscere anima chri- 
stiana, Depart, Christian soul and on hearing it he cried out : Oh, 
what beautiful prayers, what beautiful pearls of Paradise! Before going 
23 



434 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

In the state in which you are you have nothing else to do 
than to observe the Rule and to show zeal for its observance. 
Then you should without ceasing offer yourself to God and 
be resigned to his will in whatever state he may wish to 
put you. 

I feel extremely grateful to you for remembering me in 
your prayers; for my part I am doing the same for you. 
Continue, I beg you, to do so during the few days of life 
that still remain to you. 

I shall do what I can to intercede for you [with the 
Bishop of Melfi] to have Communion restored to you ; but 
I must wait for a favorable opportunity. In the mean time 
be resigned in everything; this is what Jesus Christ wishes. 

Salute all the Sisters for me, but especially the Mother 
Prioress; let her have the charity to recite during nine 
consecutive days the Salve Regina on account of two grave 
matters that concern the Congregation. Live Jesus, Mary, 
and Joseph ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 249. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia, at Iliceto. 
Confirmation of an order already given. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, May 2, [1756]. 

Yes, it is understood, only Nigro J should pass to the 
study of philosophy as we have agreed upon. When a 
thing has been said, why repeat it? Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

to bed he said to some sick persons who had come to see him : " Love 
Jesus Christ and do his will, as I wish to do myself by going to bed." 
These edifying details are drawn from an account written by Father 
Giuseppe Melchionna. 

1 Lorenzo Nigro had made his profession the preceding day. 



1756.] Letter 2 50. 435 



LETTER 250. 

To the Same. 

Request that he should work at the Constitutions. - - Vari 
ous measures. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, May n, [1756]. 

Before all things, I beg you to set your hand to the 
Constitutions at once and as often as you can; for they 
should be read in the houses where they are little known, 
else it might be said that they are not obligatory because 
they are not published. Finish them as soon as you can, 
with the assistance of Father Ferrara, just as the Chapter 
has ordained. Be very careful to preserve the original 
copies, so that one may consult them whenever a difficulty 
arises. 

In respect to allowing you to have the Blessed Sacrament 
in the oratory of the novitiate, I have always felt some 
repugnance. It is true, after your arrival from Naples I 
appeared to consent to having it kept there ; but at present 
I am confronted by another difficulty. Meditation is made 
in the choir, the visit is made in the choir, what need is 
there still of the Blessed Sacrament in the novitiate? It 
affords you consolation, you will say; but have patience, 
deprive yourself of this consolation. If you have not placed 
the Blessed Sacrament there, you had better not do so; 
and if it be there, you must take it away. 

All is going on well : Nigro and de Sanctis go to Capo- 
sele [to begin philosophy] ; de Paola remains at Iliceto. 
Passari and de Gattis can also remain there to perfect 
themselves; they can begin their rhetoric and logic in a 
short time. 

For the study of rhetoric take Cuione. 



43 6 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

You are right: there was no cause for sending these 
students to Caposele. 

I have asked more than once for that book on the 
Madonna ["The Glories of Mary"] and the Brother has 
received nothing. Send it to me as soon as you find it 
convenient. 

For the humanities, books will be sent from here, and I 
will write to Ciorani ; a copy of Calepino of Torino will be 
kept here, because we need it. 

I am answering Perez. Read the letter I have written to 
him. Instead of having him make fifteen days retreat 
before receiving the habit, it will be sufficient if he makes 
ten. 

A safe journey to Vitelli and Pica ! 1 

I bless the profession of Paravento and Leggio ; 2 tell them 
from me to practise humility; watch them carefully. 

I bless the novices and all the others. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

Father Margotta writes me that you wish to pay a part 
of the expenses of the printing of the "Glories of Mary," 
and while the book is being printed you will have nothing 
to eat ! Live Jesus and Mary ! 

What I now add, you must keep secret and allow no one 
to know except Father Ferrara. Father N. will come to 
you in June for the purpose of recollecting himself as he 
says; but would to God he would truly recollect himself and 
would not peruse books without caring about the observance ! 

Now you must know that I have expressly forbidden 
him to hear the confessions of women or to speak with 
them. Hence do not allow him to be called for this 
purpose; and if he be called, forbid him to hear the 
confessions of women even if they be dying. I have been 

1 Vitelli and Pica were two novices who had been sent away. 

2 Giuseppe Paravento and Isidore Leggio made their profession 
June 3. 



i 75 6.] Letter 2 51. 437 

obliged to come to such a decision in regard to him on 
account of his extravagant notions. I have written you a 
longer letter on the subject and have sent it by way 
of Bovino; try to procure it, and destroy it after having 
read it. Say nothing of all this to N. except in a case 
of necessity, and unless you see him hearing confessions 
of women. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original, the property of D. M. Alfonso Lombardi 
in Cimitile, diocese of Nola. 

LETTER 251. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Various matters. The sending of a little work composed 
by the saint. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, May 16, [1756]. 

I am glad to hear the news about the mission at S. 
Angelo . I have already heard about it through [D . 
Benedetto] Grazioli. I will say Mass for the Abbess of S. 
Maria di Troia, and will write to Father Villani. 

As for Father N., let him go to Iliceto where he wishes 
to go to recollect himself, because he has been exposed to a 
great deal of dissipation. 

I have written to you another letter in which I say to you 
that I forbid N. under the formal precept of obedience to 
hear the confessions of any more women; hence do not 
allow him to be called to hear women s confessions when he 
comes to your house to give the exercises ; and even if you 
see him hear the confessions of women you must forbid him 
to do so. Let him then go to Iliceto. When afterwards 
these young men have finished their course, I will send 
you some one else to replace him. This treatment of Father 
28* 



438 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

N. has been found to be necessary because of his extrav 
agances. Keep this, however, as a secret. 

Prater Contaldo should be sent as soon as possible to 
Iliceto for a change of air. 

If Father N. comes to your house, Father Pentimalli will 
not come. Have patience then, and do the best you 
can. 

If I mistake not Father Pentimalli has to go to Lauro. 
Father Apice has been promised to Iliceto. Have an 
understanding with Iliceto, but if not, how will they be able 
to get out of their difficulties ? Father Apice must neces 
sarily go to this house. 

I bless you all. I can scarcely write on account of my 
head. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Here is a letter which Father Pentimalli s brother writes 
to me ; try to satisfy him. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.~\ I send you some copies of my little work 1 
written against unbelievers. Two are bound in parchment ; 
give one to the archpriest of Caposele, the other to the 
Vicar with my compliments. The other two are for your 
house. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

If it is not really necessary I beg you not to take Brother 
Mattia 2 from his clocks ; for now I hear that he has been 
sent to accompany the Fathers on a mission. 

After the original preserved in our house at Pagani. 

1 This little work published during this year, 1756, bears the 
title: " Breve dissertazione contro gli error! dei moderni increduli, 
oggidi nominati Materialist! e Deisti." (A brief dissertation against 
the errors of modern unbelievers called to-day Materialists and 
Deists.) 

2 The lay-brother Mattia Fazzano was a skilful clock and watch 
maker ; the saint, therefore, did not wish him to accompany the 
Fathers on their missions, as the Brother probably had to make 
clocks for the houses. 



1756.] Letter 252. 439 



LETTER 252. 

To Sister Maria Nicoletta Leoni (Di Calvanico), in the 
Monastery of Fisciano. 

He reproves her for her continual impatience, and exhorts 
her to be a true nun who is entirely resigned to God s will. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, May 19, [1756]. 

I have received your letter with the stipend for a Mass, 
and I will comply with your intentions. As for paying you 
a visit, I beg you, should you write again, not to mention 
such a thing, for it would give me useless annoyance. I 
hardly ever leave the house; I do not even accept the 
invitations that I receive from the convents of Nocera, 
which are quite near. How could I go to Fisciano? 

Moreover, if I went to see you I would say nothing more 
than what I have repeated to you more than once, and I 
should gain nothing with the religious of your convent, 
though you may think otherwise. 

As for confessors, there will be no lack of them. But 
one thing is more necessary to you than confessors : it is 
patience, or rather the love of Jesus Christ. 

The saints have loved Jesus Christ and have had other 
sufferings than you have; they have had to bear other 
sorrows, other diseases, other kinds of contempt and of 
abandonment than you have to bear. Yet they believed 
that they were suffering nothing when they reflected that a 
God died for us in an ocean of contempt and of sorrow. 

Hence all the trouble that you have is caused by your 
self when you complain about everything and show so little 
patience. 

In short, what will you find at the hour of death, which 
in view of your maladies is not far off? You will find only 
acts of impatience and sins; only venial sins, I hope, but 



440 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

these may lead you farther if your impatience goes on 
increasing. 

Well, now! take counsel of your crucifix, look upon it 
often, and offer to our Lord what you suffer. Your evils 
would be changed into pearls of Paradise, but they are 
changed through your fault into so many thorns, and into 
sins which you will have to expiate in the flames of pur 
gatory. 

When then will you write to me that for once you will 
with God s help bear patiently all your trials? When you 
feel yourself weighed down by affliction, cast immediately 
a glance at the crucifix, have recourse to our Lady of 
Sorrows, and always ask this good Mother for this one 
grace, that she should obtain for you resignation to the will 
of God. 

I entreat you, do not again write to me the words that 
you have used, together with the interminable lamentations : 
/ cannot bear this any longer. Such treatment is too much 
to bear, and the like. If I mistake not, you suffer less 
from your corporal pains than from the contempt that is 
heaped upon you; your want of humility is, therefore, it 
seems to me, more than anything else the source of your 
trials. Here is my little work, the Visits, a new edition ; I 
send it to you that you may read the little treatise on the 
u ill of God which is added to it (see page 209). Read it 
little by little, and when you have finished it, begin again. 

Oh, if you would embrace with all your heart the will 
of God ! If you were persuaded that in accepting your 
pains with an entire resignation, you would rejoice the 
heart of God, and with what joy, with what love would 
you endure them ! Hence, when you feel yourself more 
than usually weighed down, I beg you to re-read this letter. 

May God grant you his light and his love! He that 
loves God does not suffer; he rejoices even in suffering. 

Perhaps you will tell me: But I am not a saint. I 



i 75 6.] Letter 253. 441 

answer : You are not a saint and you do not wish to be a 
saint. Do you wish to become a saint amidst tenderness 
and consolations? And if you do not wish to become a 
saint, why did you leave the world? Did you perhaps 
enter the convent to be served and honored, and not to 
suffer ? What would you say to one of your Sisters who 
would complain to you ? What you would say to her, say 
to yourself; offer, offer all to Jesus Christ, and ask him 
without intermission, not that your trials may cease, but 
that you may have his love and may be patient. This is 
the way to transform all your pains into pearls of Paradise. 

In order to write you this letter I had to snatch a moment 
from my numerous occupations. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 253. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia, at Iliceto. 

He blames indiscreet zeal and gives various counsels re 
garding the novitiate. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

PAGANI, May 25, 1756. 

I have received information about the affair from Father 
Rizzi. 1 

If things remain in the same state, and Monsignor is 

1 Father Rizzi had written to his penitent Mgr. Tommaso Pacelli 
Bishop of Bovino, a letter in which he reminded the prelate of his 
duties, telling him that the people of the diocese were greatly 
dissatisfied with him. This indfscreet letter so angered the bishop 
that he wished to imprison this zealous, but too imprudent Father. 



442 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

not pacified, so that we may have to fear that he will put 
the Father into prison, send him to Caposele without losing 
a moment. 

Tell, however, this Father that he did not do well to 
write that letter. He wrote it through zeal ; but he does 
not know that it is forbidden to us outside of the confessional 
to meddle with affairs that may cause embarrassment to 
others. For the love of God let him in future give up such 
kind of zeal. We must think of the general good of the 
Congregation rather than of the good of others. 

As for the question about the Blessed Sacrament in the 
oratory of the novitiate, I wish to consider the matter more 
fully with my Consultors, and when Father Fiocchi returns, 
I shall send him thither immediately to give you the answer 
to this as well as to some other questions. 

Tell Frater N. that the three young men have presented 
themselves. He knows that Andrea will not suit us, for he 
does not understand enough Latin, and at Naples I told 
him that he would not be received. 

As for the other youth, I mean N., there is a difficulty, 
for it is not known where he is to be ordained. 

Finally, another young man came ; but he had no patri 
mony. I shall therefore send the two candidates who have 
received the votes of the Consultors. 

When Father Fiocchi comes, he will give you the 
answers to other questions. Please give the enclosed letter 
to Frater Perez. 

Send immediately a copy of my book [Dissertation 
on the Errors of Modern Unbelievers} to Canon Vitale at 
Bisaccia. Tell Father Rizzi to say three Hail Marys as a 
penance. 

[Father Francesco] Pentimalli must come without fail to 
Ciorani, even though they desire to keep him at Caposele. 
Give yourself therefore no trouble about him. I have 
written to Caposele to send you at least Father [Andrea] 



i 75 6.] Letter 254. 443 

Strina who preaches very well, and Father [Stefano] Liguori : 
and so you will be able to do your work. 

I am now engaged in writing to Mgr. di Bovino, and I 
hope to appease him. Father Rizzi should have mentioned 
those points to the bishop when he heard the latter s 
confession ; he should not have written him a letter. 

If Father Fiocchi arrives here in time, I will send him 
immediately. Say no more about this. As soon as I can 
have him I shall send him to you ; I have sent to Ciorani 
for him and have called him away from the exercises that 
he is giving, at Ciorani in order to please you. 

I repeat: If matters are now settled, it is not necessary to 
send Father Rizzi to Caposele; if Monsignor should come 
to the house, it would be well for Father Rizzi to go to him 
privately, to throw himself at his feet and beg pardon for 
his indiscretion. 

Let Frater [Michele] Ferrazzano become a little stronger 
and healthier before speaking of making his profession. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Father Margotta tells me that you wish to contribute 
towards paying the expenses of the Madonna ["Glories 
of Mary"] ; but where is the money? Live Jesus and Mary ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 

LETTER 254. 
To Sister Maria di Gesu, Carmelite at Ripacandida. 

Explanations regarding spiritual direction. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

PAGANI, June, 1756. 

I have read your very long letter, and I answer it in a 
few words. 

I expect within a few days Father Fiocchi, who is to go 



444 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

to Naples; I must first hear him and examine afterwards 
what I can do to oblige you. 

While waiting, place yourself entirely at the disposition 
of God for his greater glory ; now it is for the greater glory 
of God to do his most holy will. 

Present my respects to the Mother Prioress, to Sister 
Maria Giuseppe, to Sister Maria Celeste, and to all the 
rest. Let all recommend me to Jesus Christ; for I repeat, 
I wish to do what I can to be useful to you, but I must first 
hear what Father Fiocchi has to say. 

I am fully persuaded that he did not withdraw on 
account of some disobedience on your part or on the part 
of the other religious, but for some other important reason. 
Who knows what the Bishop [of Melfi] has told him ! 
Perhaps out of regard for the Carmelites? I do not know 
what to say in this matter. 

However, if Father Fiocchi returns to you, you must be 
satisfied with the little that he can do ; for you know that 
our Rule expressly forbids us the direction of religious, 
either in general or in particular. Be satisfied with the 
counsel that is given to you every time that an occasion 
presents itself. 

In the mean time follow the advice that Father Fiocchi 
has given you ; and if anything new occurs, do nothing 
exteriorly without the order of the Superior. As for interior 
things, to remove every doubt, it will be sufficient to say : 
My God, I wish only Thee and Thy good pleasure; say 
nothing more. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



1756.] Letter 256. 445 

LETTER 255. 

To a Father of the House at Ciorani. 
He sends pecuniary aid to the poor house of Iliceto. 

[June 3, 1756.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

My dear L.: Have patience; it is necessary that you 
should go to Iliceto where the spiritual exercises are to be 
given to the candidates for ordination as there is no one to 
help to give them. 

I send you secretly thirty ducats: carry them to the 
Superiors of Iliceto for the purchase of food, because I hear 
that they are in embarrassed circumstances. 

You must not say anything to others about these thirty 
ducats; but you must tell them at Iliceto to celebrate 
seventy-two Masses to the intention of those that have 
given the money. Take out of this sum of thirty ducats what 
will pay the expenses of your journey. Live Jes.us, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I bless all the novices. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 256. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia, at Iliceto. 

How he was to act in regard to an imprudent subject. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

June 3, [1756]. 

Father N. through his extravagances has thrown me into 
the greatest confusion. 

Forbid him to say Mass till the 1 5th of this month ; after 
that let him again say Mass. But, for pity s sake, do not 
employ him too much in preaching, nor let him go out too 
often. Make him remain at home to recollect himself and 



446 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

to regain a little fervor ; for it was for this reason that I sent 
him to you. 

Tell him that I command under formal obedience that he 
shall no longer hear women s confessions, nor the confessions 
of young persons under seventeen years of age. He may 
hear the confessions of men and of boys who have com 
pleted their seventeenth year ; for I have heard that by his 
extravagant questions he has taught young persons certain 
things of which they were ignorant, and now they complain 
of this. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 257. 
To the Same. 

He prescribes to the novices moderation in prayer, and 
expresses his sorrow on account of their poverty. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NoCERA, June 24, 1756. 

I have received from the novices a package of letters 
expressive of their thanks for having allowed them the 
Blessed Sacrament. 1 I hear, however, that they go to 
excess, and that they have already begun to make them 
selves sick, as, for instance, N. N., etc. 

I beg you to moderate their prayers in the chapel of the 
Blessed Sacrament. 

It is sufficient if they make the ordinary visit by adding 
to it, in the evening and during the day, one or two other 
visits that must not last longer than half of a quarter of an 
hour. 

This is understood of days outside of the retreat days. 

I do not answer the letters of the novices ; for it would 
take me two months to answer them. 

1 The permission, namely, of having the Blessed Sacrament in 
the chapel of the novitiate. 



i 75 6.j Letter 2 $8. 447 

I hear that at your house you have no soup at your 
meals. Why do you not send to Ascoli since you have 
four animals for riding ? It would be well to send to the 
environs for a little wheat, etc., but the misfortune is to 
know whom to send. 

On the subject of cheese, all are opposed to Father N.; 
and in other houses they continue to give it. But as to 
your house, what can we do? Should we wish to witness 
some scene? It is better for you to dissimulate, and to be 
guided by prudence. 

I see that Father N. has told me the truth ; for there is 
truly no way of living in that place. Now I send you a 
little help ; but afterwards what can be done ? It is a heart 
rending spectacle thus to see the sufferings of so many 
young persons that have just left the world ! 

As for Brother N. although he has made his vows, keep 
him near you, so that his health may improve. He may 
do some light work that Father N. may assign to him. 

Please to send from time to time to Ascoli or elsewhere 
to procure the wherewithal to make a little soup [minestrd]. 
I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 258. 
To the Same. 

He complains of the useless expenses incurred in the 
house at Iliceto. 

[End of June, 1756.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

I write by the hand of another, since I cannot do so 
myself on account of my head. 

Father N. writes that in fifteen days you will not know 
what to do, since you are without grain, without wine, 
without cheese, without lard, and without money, for the 



448 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

reason that the thirty ducats sent you have been given to 
Maffei. 

As for myself, I really do not know what to do. It will 
be impossible for me to force the other houses to send you 
money. Reflect on some means, think of what might be 
done, and speak about the matter to Father N. Examine 
whether it is necessary to abandon Iliceto in order not to 
see our young people die of starvation. 

I beg you to be in all that you do as much as possible in 
accord with Father N.; for otherwise it will be impossible to 
navigate the little vessel. 

I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 259. 
To the Same. 

New complaints in regard to useless expenses. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

July 4, [1756]. 

Briefly, when I receive news from Iliceto it seems to me 
that each time I must swallow a cup of poison. The other 
day assistance was sent, and it disappeared immediately. 
Now something again has been sent, and I hear that it has 
also disappeared. Father N. wishes to construct a cistern, 
and you wish to be the architect; and for this purpose 
Father N. says beams are needed. 

I therefore say again and again that it is my wish that no 
expenses should be incurred except for what is absolutely 
necessary, namely, for food and the necessary clothing; for 
you are in want of linen, of bread, etc. 

How often have I not forbidden the incurring of extra 
ordinary expenses ! And now I learn that you wish to buy 
planks on credit. On credit, and without the means 
of paying for them ! . . . . Have patience ; think only of your 



1756.] Letter 260. 449 

support for the morrow, and of nothing else. I feel like 
dying with compassion for these young people. I repeat : 
At present think only of keeping alive. I shall assemble 
my Consultors to find out what means may be employed ; 1 
for it is impossible for the little vessel to sail on in this 
way. 

I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 260. 

To Father Gaspare Caione, Rector at Caposele. 

He reprimands him. - - Theological reasons in favor of 
ordination titulo patrimonii. 

[Beginning of July, 1756?] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

I can no longer dissemble; I will tell the truth. That 
you have sent Father Apice (and may God prevent you 
from sending another!) to San Gregorio has pierced my 
heart, the more so s ; nce you had at first resolved to write 
to me, and afterwarcu yor did just the contrary. My 
God ! to send a subject that costs us our blood, to die in a 
sickly place during the great heats, and at a time when 
there is an epidemic raging ! 

But, he is needed there. - - True, but all the priests are 
not dead; there is always one remaining that can give 
absolution. For pity s sake, in future, and before doing 
any of these extraordinary things write to me. 

It is necessary to obey the Archbishop [of Conza] but 
cum grano salts [with some allowance], in those things in 
which we are obliged to obey. 

I am starting for Naples to-day, and God knows what 

1 The means employed was to transfer the novitiate to Nocera. 
This occurred July 18, and the novitiate remained there till October 
15, of the following year. 
29 



450 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

sorrow and pain I feel on account of what you have written 
to me. May God be propitious to us ! 

See that Father Apice procures as quickly as possible the 
letters dimissory for those young men, and tell him to let 
the Vicar-General understand in a very gentle way that he 
has not acted very charitably towards us, by refusing to 
recognize the title of patrimony when all the other Vicars 
made no difficulty about it. 

We are rendering service to the universal Church. Ac 
cording to a Papal Brief we are allowed to be ordained 
with a patrimony ; added to this, we are engaged in serving 
the diocese of Conza. Still the most cogent reason is that 
we are working for the universal Church, and that the 
universal Church has already approved of our ordination 
under the title of a patrimony. 

If there should happen to be a Father at present at S. 
Gregorio, recall him immediately. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

{Postscript by another hand } : As our Father was on the 
point of setting out, he requested me to add a few more 
reasons in favor of the admission of the patrimony. 

In the first place, the permission of the Sovereign 
Pontiff, according to our Rule, allows us to ordain our 
subjects with a patrimony. Then we have the permission 
of his Majesty, who considers us very useful in the kingdom 
on account of the houses which we have; for under that 
title we shall not be a burden to him ; we know that as a 
general thing he refuses this title in order not to multiply 
the number of useless priests. 

Again, the Concordat does not take the privilege from 
us ; for according to the terms of that document it is left to 
the judgment of the bishop to ordain with a patrimony 
when he sees it would be useful for the Church, without 
specifying the particular church of those who are to be 



1756.] Letter 261. 45 1 

ordained. Hence Mgr. Borgia says that it is his custom to 
ordain a number of priests in a place where there is no want 
of priests, in order to be able to transfer them afterwards to 
places where they are needed. Thus we see that he 
ordains according to the need or utility of the Church, not 
of the church of the one who is ordained, but of the one that 
ordains. This practice is also in accordance with the 
Council of Trent \Sess. xxi. cap. ii.] which gives to the 
bishop the faculty of ordaining clerics under the title of a 
patrimony, if he thinks it useful and necessary for his 
churches : remark here the wording suarum [his churches], 
that is, the churches of the bishop, and not illorum [their 
churches], that is, the churches of those that have been 
ordained. Supposing all this, who can deny that the 
Fathers of our Congregation are useful to the churches 
of the Archbishop of Conza, seeing that he uses us as he 
wishes ? 

Father Villani had intended to write these points to you ; 
but learning that I had done so, he omitted sending them 
to you. 

After the original to be found partly in our house at Mons, 
Belgium, partly in the archives of Father General at Rome. 

LETTER 26l. 
To the Council of Ecclesiastical Affairs. 

The saint solicits the legal approbation of his Institute, 
and he refutes the objections that could be raised against it. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NAPLES, July, [1756]. 1 

Since the year 1732, the priest Don Alfonso de Liguori 
and other priests, have learned by giving missions the 

1 "In the beginning of July" says Tannoia " Alphonsus went 
again to Naples. He was most anxious to see his Congregation 
better established and secured by royal authority, and to obtain the 



452 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

great spiritual need of the people in the country, and 
especially of those living in hamlets and small towns of this 
kingdom ; and on the other hand, how little is the assistance 
that they receive from the missions that are given from 
Naples. These priests have, therefore, united and have by 
giving missions applied themselves to the spiritual care 
of these abandoned people. 

To carry out this work, the first house was erected in the 
diocese of Salerno, and then with the permission of the 
king, three other houses were founded in the dioceses 
of Nocera, Bovino and Conza. 

Afterwards, in the year 1749, at the instance of the 
bishops of said dioceses, the reigning Pontiff, knowing the 
benefit and necessity of this work, a decree of the Sacred 
Congregation of the Council having been previously issued, 
approved by an apostolic Brief this Institute in the form 
of a Congregation under the title of the Most Holy Redeemer, 
subjecting it to the diocesan Ordinaries. 

The before-mentioned Brief has not been put in execution, 
as it is still lacking the permission of his Majesty. But in 
the mean time the aforesaid missionaries have continued to 
devote themselves to the giving of missions, travelling for 
nine months in the year through six provinces of this king- 

exequatur for the apostolic Brief. On the loth of the same month he 
wrote to Father Gasparo Caione : Make a novena and have the 
people to make it for the success of the affair of the approbation. 
On the 2Oth he again wrote: I am laboring hard at Naples, but I 
meet with difficulties. Let us leave the matter in God s hands. Make 
another novena with the discipline every evening, and have the 
people to make a second novena . . . He remained more than a 
month at Naples ; he might have been seen in spite of the burning 
sun running from the house of one minister to the other. But all in 
vain ; the opinion of Mgr. Galliano prevailed, and under pretence 
that the king in granting the exequatur to the Bull would not be free 
to suppress the Congregation should it degenerate, the petition was 
refused." So far Tannoia, Book ii. chap. xliv. 



i 75 6.] Letter 261. 453 

dom, giving about forty missions a year to these poor 
country people. 

The royal clemency of our Sovereign has in the mean 
time been petitioned that for the good of so many of his 
vassals, he may deign to grant permission so that this work 
may be firmly established. Otherwise it will come to 
nothing, because, on the one hand, the young men who 
have been called by God to leave their families to live in 
ecclesiastical Communities, will hardly be induced to enter 
a Community that is not established with the royal ap 
probation; and on the other hand, those that have entered, 
on seeing that the approbation is deferred, will be tempted 
to leave it for fear that after the work has been given up, 
they would have to live outside of their own homes as well 
as outside of the Community. 

The reasons for making difficulties in granting the royal 
exequatur are the following : 

1 . That in the kingdom of Naples the number of religious 
houses already existing is excessive; and that for the 
spiritual want of souls, the pastors and priests of the country 
places and the missions that are given from Naples, furnish 
ample means. 

2. That the increase of religious houses is an injury to 
the interests of the laity because of the purchase of property 
made by said houses, and because they then remain in the 
possession of this property. 

3. These foundations begin well, but in time they are 
rather injurious, or at least useless. 

To the first objection the reply may be given that 
although the religious houses in the kingdom might be 
sufficient and excessive, yet the houses of missionaries that 
attend to the spiritual culture of the poor people of the 
country, are very few in proportion to their wants. Every 
where zealous bishops are heard complaining, because they 
see a great part of their flocks perishing for want of help ; 
29* 



454 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

they ask for missions, but they cannot have them, since the 
missions from Naples do not reach the hundredth part of the 
wants that exist. There are, it is true, many ecclesiastics 
(and would to God there were fewer!), but very few of them 
are good apostolic workers. 

To the second objection that the increase of religious 
houses is prejudicial to laymen we reply that the king has 
already provided for this, by ordering that the above- 
mentioned houses of the missionaries cannot acquire any 
annual income, and that which they possessed in the 
beginning are administered by the bishops who are to 
furnish each of the subjects with two carlini 1 a day, and 
all the rest is to be given to the poor of the place. And 
this supreme disposition of the prince has been resignedly 
accepted by said missionaries, who were even satisfied with 
the disposition made by his Majesty. To this must be 
added that the same exact nothing from their own families ; 
hence it happens that their patrimonial income remains for 
the benefit of the laity, their relatives. 

As for the last objection, that these foundations begin 
well and then end badly, or remain at least useless, we ask 
you to cast your eyes not upon all religious houses, but 
only upon the foundations of missionaries, such as those 
of the Pious Workers and of the priests called Priests of the 
Missions, and you will see that these Institutes, although 
founded more than a century ago, are still useful to the 
public, either because the obligation of continually laboring 
keeps them from dissipation and engaged in prayer or 
study, or because the power of dismissing the negligent 
being in the hands of the Superiors, it happens that those 
that remain devote themselves to the work of their Institute. 

As, therefore, an experiment of this new Institute of mis 
sionaries has been made during the space of twenty-three years, 
as it has furnished a good number of missionaries, and has 

1 Two carlini = fr. 0.85. 



1756.] Letter 262. 455 

already received the approbation of the Sovereign Pontiff, 
who gathered the most exact information about them, it is 
hoped that our most pious Monarch by his permission will 
render this great work perpetual in his kingdom, for it is a 
work that is devoted to the welfare of his vassals, and that 
is established to maintain purity of our holy religion, on 
which even the tranquillity of the State depends. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 262. 

To Sister Maria Angela Rosa Graziano, in the Monastery 
of the SS. Rosario at Naples. 

He announces to her his early departure from Naples. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NAPLES, [end of July, 1756]. 

I have not had a moment for myself, occupied as I have 
been with important affairs of our Congregation. I will 
leave the city to-morrow in all haste, and when I return to 
Naples I will send you our Brother [Francesco Tartaglione] 
to whom you may tell all and give the money. 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ, for we are persecuted 
and endure all kinds of woes. Live Jesus, Mary, and 
Joseph ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 



456 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 263. 

To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce, at Camigliano. 
He exhorts her to fervor in the service of God. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 3, 1756. 

I answer your last letter ; it contains nothing important 
that needs a special answer. 

I am only very glad to know that you have been 
insulted; yet I regret that there was so very little insult, 
and that the blows were measured instead of being given 
plentifully. 

Do not omit going to Communion, even when you are 
told a hundred times that you are damned, and that you 
are a demon. Do not love the less those that show you 
greater contempt; render them services and pray for them. 

In regard to the discipline, omit it when you are ill ; but 
when you recover, resume it, notwithstanding that you 
have lost strength ; take it then at least a little so as not to 
lose the habit of it. I recommend the same thing in regard 
to the spiritual reading. 

It will be impossible for us to go to Caiazzo. The king 
does not permit us to have any more foundations ; the same 
prohibition holds good for all religious whoever they 
may be. 

Pray always for me. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa! 

Your servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Signor Andrea d Isa at 
Camigliano. 



1756.] Letter 264. 457 

LETTER 264. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Zeal of the saint for regular observance. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, August 6, [1756]. 

I have just received your letter in reference to the office 
of Examiner, etc. Father Ferrara tells me that this is only 
for once, and that there is question of nominating an arch- 
priest at Andretta. 1 

This is sufficient. When you receive the formal letter 
of the archbishop in regard to the matter, you will take 
care at first to thank him kindly, and then to excuse 
yourself by saying that to accept the office you are obliged 
to write to me and to obtain a dispensation, since such a 
thing is forbidden by our Constitution. If nevertheless he 
presses you to accept, and wishes to push the matter, then, 
as there is question of doing this but once, I dispense you 
only for this case. 

Tell Father Leo from me to give up the idea of again 
having copies of Tournely 2 sent from France. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

1 Mgr. Giuseppe Nicolai wished Father Caione to be present as 
Examiner at the concursus for the office of archpriest of Andretta. 

2 Father Francesco de Leo was then teaching philosophy, and 
after the course of philosophy had been finished, having to teach 
theology to the same students, he wished to procure for us from 
France a certain number of copies of Tournely s Theology. St. 
Alphonsus preferred to apply to his publisher, Giuseppe Remondini 
at Venice, and the latter procured the books in question as one may 
see in a letter of the saint to Remondini, dated March 14, 1757. 



45 8 General Correspondence. [PART r. 

LETTER 265. 
To Mother Maria di Gesu, Carmelite at Ripacandida. 1 

The duties of a Prioress. Various recommendations. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, August 17, 1756. 

I answer: Yes, God is worthy of being loved, and he 
wishes to be loved by you, although you have no director. 

You have again been appointed Prioress; the Prioress 
of a convent should also be prior in love, that is to say, the 
first in loving God, and this is the rule of conduct that I 
give you. 

Since you have received Jesus Christ anew, 2 recommend 
me to him when you receive him as food ; at least on those 
days on which Communion is not taken from you. 

I have written to Mgr. [di Melfi] to permit you to answer 
Brancone. If this is granted, answer the Marquis that you 
never forget him in your prayers. Encourage him and say 
to him that you are praying to the Lord to grant him 
strength and light to walk on the right road and to defend 
the interests of the Church in the office that he occupies. 

I thank you for the novena that you wished to make for 
me, and for the remembrance that you have of me. I 
thank Jesus Christ that he reminds you of me, and I pray 
to him that he may always remind you of me. 

Thank also our Lord for the signal favor that we have 
just received from the Pope; for he has given us all the 

1 Mother Maria di Gesu had been re-elected Prioress at the end 
of the month of May, 1756. 

2 The holy nun had been, as we have said, deprived of daily 
Communion. As we have seen in Letter 248, St. Alphonsus inter 
ceded with Mgr. de Melfi to remove this prohibition. 



Letter 266. 459 

privileges of the Pious Workers and of the Fathers of the 
Christian Doctrine. 1 

Give the enclosed answers to the Sisters who have 
written to^me; but tell them that when they write, they 
should not, especially if the letter is somewhat long, expect 
an immediate answer; for time is wanting to me. I had 
even to steal the moments to write to you. 

In your position, you have nothing else to do than to 
observe the Rule and to exact its observance. Unite 
yourself, then, to God by a continual offering of yourself, 
and in whatever state of soul you may be, humbly resign 
yourself. 

Salute for me all the Sisters, and let all continue to recom 
mend me to Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 266. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Exhortation to "practise patience^ 

[NocERA, month of August, 1756.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

I have read your letter and said : Alas ! that this new 
misery should come upon us during the festival, and now 
we are all involved in it. 

Your Reverence is asking a Mass from Petrella. 2 In 
the first place Petrella has gone to Iliceto. Secondly, you 
must know that Father Saverio [Rossi] usually talks when he 

1 This favor had been granted on July 17, 1756, and confirmed on 
August ii, by the Brief: Pastoris ceterni. 

2 The stipends of the Masses of Father D. Pietro Petrella. 



460 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

comes here about having more Masses ; because he has 
about forty subjects to board and a debt of about two 
thousand ducats ; and what he obtains from the vineyard he 
has to give to the Baron. 1 But seeing the misery of this 
house he has not the courage to speak of it. To take now 
from Ciorani the Mass of Petrella and to give it to him, is a 
thing that cannot be thought of, the more so since this 
Mass already belongs there. 

Therefore, in order to give you some other Mass I 
should have to take it from the house at Pagani. Now you 
know what is the condition of this house. 

There is a debt of about two hundred ducats, which has to be 
paid to butchers and others, who are anxious to be paid. Hence 
Father Mazzini has declared that he felt no confidence in 
being able to support the novitiate, although I have assigned 
to him another Mass which I had assigned to the im 
poverished house at Iliceto. Hence if there is no prospect 
of obtaining help, it will become necessary to remove the 
novitiate from this place. 

Now just think, from whom could I take this Mass ? I 
feel compassion for you all, and say that you are right. 
But I would like to have some one to say to me what I am 
to do in order to satisfy all. I have already praised you 
for not having complained, and I see that now you have 
complained being forced by necessity ; but we must embrace 
our sister, patience, which is poverty s own sister. 

I thank you for the little paper that you have written, 
and I expect the other. 

I have received no letters from Benevento. I bless all* 
and I pray to God to grant you patience. 

1 Here there is question of the vineyard which Don Andrea 
Sarnelli had presented to the Congregation. The Baron Nicola 
Sarnelli, after the death of his brother, made so many efforts to 
annul this donation, raised so many difficulties for the Institute that 
it was agreed, December 7, 1755, to pay him within a certain space 
of time the sum of a thousand ducats. 



1756.] Letter 267. 46 1 

After the feast of the Blessed Virgin is over, 1 have the 
Fathers who can do so make their retreat, because in 
October of this year there will be work for them ; perhaps 
it will be a mission at Amalfi, which I have heard mentioned. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 267. 

To the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. 

He exhorts a rigorous observance of a point of the Rule. 

[NOCERA, August 18, 1756.] 

Alfonso Maria de Liguori of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer Rector Major. 

The rule that forbids the receiving and the sending 
of letters without the permission of the Superiors is a matter 
of great importance. The non-observance of this rule may 
make room for innumerable disorders that would ruin the 
Congregation. Hence in order to provide temporarily till 
the next Chapter for the exact observance of the foregoing 
rule, we ordain, for the porters of the houses and for all the 
Brothers, that all the letters that they receive for the 
subjects, except the letters addressed to the Consultors or 
written by them, should be carried to the Superiors of the 
houses or of the missions. In regard to those letters 
referring to matters of conscience they must conform to the 
constitution of the Chapter. 

Should a Brother neglect the execution of this ordinance, 
we forbid the subjects to open the letters that they receive ; 

1 The feast and the octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin 
were celebrated with great solemnity in the house at Caposele. 



462 General Correspondence. [PART r. 

nor should they forward the letters that they write, before 
having shown them to the Superior, at least sealed if there 
is question of matters of conscience. 

We charge the consciences of the Superiors with the 
faithful observance of this rule, and exhort them to punish 
severely those that are guilty of any infraction of it ; other 
wise they will make themselves responsible, and will be 
sternly dealt with by me, since this is a matter of very 
great importance, and for certain reasons of much greater 
than some imagine. 

In regard to letters concerning matters of conscience, it 
has been decided in the constitution of the Chapter, that 
the Superior shall not open them ; but we declare that this 
must be understood of letters from strangers, and not those 
from relatives. 

Given at Nocera de Pagani at the convent of St. Michael, 
August 1 8, in the year 1756. 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

Rector Major. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 268. 

To Father Francesco Margotta. 
He charges him with a commission. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, September i, [1756?] 

When you have spoken to Mgr. di Troia you had better 
come home ; but, if your Reverence cannot do so, Fathers 
[D. Alessandro de] Meo and Caione should depart as soon 
as they have had an interview. 

Let Father Meo take care not to become overfatigued. 
I hear that he has been spitting blood, and that his chest is 
affected. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
After the Roman edition. 



1756.] Letter 269. 463 

LETTER 269. 

To Mother Maria di Gesu, at Ripacandida. 
He explains to her the conduct of Father Fiocchi. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, September 24, [1756]. 

I have received your letter, and Father Fiocchi just 
happens to be here. 

He says that if he ceases to have any relations with you, 
it is because from a distance and by letter he can hardly do 
more than undertake the direction of your conscience. For 
the rest, as soon as you become reconciled to this fact, my 
dear Mother, he will give you this satisfaction, and I have 
told him to do so. But in return always recommend 
me to Jesus Christ; for this is a particular dispensation 
that I grant in your favor, since our Rule prohibits such a 
thing. 

May Jesus Christ reward you for the charity with which 
you recommend me to him ! Our good Mother in heaven 
will, I hope, always put you in mind of this. 

As for poor me, I do not forget you in my prayers. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



464 General Correspondence. [PART i. 



LETTER 270. 

To Father Andrea Villani, Rector of the House at 
S. Angelo a Cupolo. 

Recommendations relative to the interests of the Con 
gregation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, October I, [1756]. 

I have sent the letter to Marquis Petruro. 

You tell me that if the same assistance had been given to 
Iliceto, it would have been possible to support the novitiate 
there! O my dear Andrea! what do you say? Did you 
therefore hope that the Masses would be said here, and 
that the money for them would be sent to Iliceto? At 
Iliceto you would not have received ten carlini a week. 
You had better drive this idea out of your head ; for it can 
never be, no, never, that one house should support the 
other, because all the houses in whatever condition they 
may be are really hospitals in which every car lino that 
comes in goes out. 

A long explanation would be necessary to make this 
clear to you. If there had not been secretly set on foot the 
making of stalls, the carpenter-work for the upper story, 
etc. we should not now find ourselves in this embarrass 
ment; but now things are done, and we must be silent and 
must suffer. 

When the contract of the farm is settled at Naples I will 
be able, I hope, to furnish you in November with money 
from [D. Benedetto] Grazioli to make the purchases. 

When you make the purchases do not fail to found two 
chaplaincies, or at least one of them, in order that we may 
be able to ordain one of our subjects who would not have 
any patrimony, a chaplaincy for instance, for Prater [Lo- 



I756-] Letter 270. 465 

renzo] Nigro, who is moreover the only son, though in 
Minor Orders. 1 

The chaplaincy should be founded entirely in Masses, with 
an annual revenue corresponding to the tax of the patrimony 
which at Benevento is thirty ducats; with this should be 
connected the obligation of celebrating these Masses in our 
church of the Assumption. 

I say this in order that the subject who is deprived of the 
chaplaincy, if he should leave us [the Institute], may not 
lay claim to the fruits without coming to celebrate in our 
church. 

The chaplaincy would have to be founded when making 
the purchases; otherwise it cannot be founded afterwards, 
as it would be alienated ; and alienation would require the 
intervention of Rome. 

The chaplaincy may be founded on the interest-money 
of the annual revenue. About this you would have to 
consult the Vicar-General. 

We must think of this matter now, because there would 
be no time after the purchase has been made. 

In regard to furnishing another Father to help you on 
the missions, there is great misery ; because applications for 
missions are innumerable. 

For Benevento are already destined Fathers Amarante, 
Grossi, Buonamano and de Angelis. You may, however, 
when you wish send for them. [Father] Buonamano can help 
me at Amalfi whither I shall go at the beginning of the 
week. 

As for the large mission asked for by the Archbishop 
[of Benevento] write to Father Fiocchi, who will be near 
Conza, or write to me, and we shall see whether we shall be 
able to detach one or two of the Fathers. 

1 Frater Lorenzo Nigro, to whose ordination the laws of the 
kingdom were opposed, as he was the only son, was subsequently 
ordained at Benevento, in the Papal domain. 
30 



466 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

The subjects destined for the missions are too few for this 
campaign. 

I conclude, because my head allows me to say no more. 
Missions, debts, departure for [the mission at] Amalfi, etc. 
Oh, what embarrassments ! Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of Canon Francesco Saverio 
Martini, Vicar-General of Alatri. 

LETTER 271. 

To the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. 

Prohibition to go out without a special permission. 

NOCERA, October 2, 1756. 

No subject is allowed to leave home without the per 
mission of the Rector, and unless the Rector advises him to 
come to speak to me. 

In case the subject does not wish to communicate his 
affairs (for which he wishes to come) to the Rector of the 
house, or the Rector does not think it necessary for him to 
come to me, the subject may write to me ; and when I shall 
say to him to come, he may come. 

After an old copy. 



1756.] Letter 272. 467 

LETTER 272. 

To Sister Maria Nicoletta Leoni (Di Calvanico), in the 
Monastery of Fisciano. 

He reproaches her for her impatience and exhorts her to 
resignation. 

NOCERA, October 6, [1756]. 

I have received your letter and with it the stipend for a 
Mass. 

I will pray and have others to pray for you; but if you 
do not do your share of co-operation in practising patience, 
God will not come to your assistance, and you will always 
lead a miserable life. I do not even know what death you 
will die if you die in the like sentiments of impatience. 

You say: / am surrounded by enemies. Is this the 
language of a religious? Enemies, when you yourself tell 
me that a servant was hired expressly for you ? Is it the 
fault of the Sisters if afterwards this servant falls ill ? 

Your acts of impatience, it seems to me, are continual, 
and you blame now the Sisters, because they do not assist 
you as you wish, now Almighty God, because he does not 
deliver you from your illness. This is the way that you 
suffer without merit, and after having thus suffered you 
will have to go to purgatory to expiate all your acts 
of impatience. 

Well, then, stop all that ! otherwise you will die a bad 
death. Put yourself in God s hands, ask him for good 
health, but ask with resignation; and if God does not grant 
it to you, you should say that your illness is good for your 
eternal salvation. 

Is there anything grander than to offer one s sufferings to 
Jesus Christ, to him who has suffered so much for the love 
of us, and who has endured greater sufferings without 
having deserved them? Do this, and you will suffer in 
peace, and you will weave for yourself a beautiful crown for 



468 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Paradise. Among the sufferings that you must offer to 
God is the little assistance that you receive from the Sisters. 

But they forget me! And you forget that you are a 
spouse of Jesus Christ ; you forget the sins by which you 
have offended your divine Saviour, the promises that you 
have made to him, and the love that he has borne you. 

In future, I hope that you will do what I have just told 
you. Renew every day the resolution of offering to God 
all your pains, and at this very moment when you are 
reading these lines, make this offering at the foot of the 
crucifix. 

But if you wish to continue to complain of your illness, 
of your Sisters, etc., it will be useless for you to write me 
any more, for I loathe to see a religious so impatient and 
always complaining about the Sisters. If the Sisters do not 
do their duty, do yours by bearing with them. You will 
act so, I hope. 

I bless you in the name of Jesus Christ and of Mary, so 
that you may hereafter obey me. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 273. 

To Father Gasparo Caione. 

He begs him to watch over the health of the students. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, October 27, [1756]. 

I am told that Prater Michele [de Michele] has begun to 
look as badly as he did before. 

I beg you to examine how he is; and if it be necessary 



1756.] Letter 274. 469 

do not allow him to study, nor to do even what I have 
permitted him to do. If this young man has a relapse, it 
will be all over with him. 

I have also been informed that Prater [Lorenzo] Nigro 
and others are seriously affected with bowel troubles. 

I give you full power to moderate the studies of these 
young people, and in case of doubt to incline always to the 
side of health. I give you all the faculties, on condition, 
however, that you afterwards render an account of what 
you have done. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 274. 
To the Same. 

Various recommendations. Explanation regarding some 
points of the Rule of the students. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, 29, [November, 1756]. 

According to what I hear, my dear Gasparo, you are 
greatly tortured by that detestable fever. May the will 
of God be done ! I also have been favored these past few 
days with a little fever. 

I beg you not to be troubled about the confessors. 
There is no harm if all those that come to confession [in 
our chapel] are not heard. During the missions things are 
not otherwise. It is therefore sufficient if two or three 
remain at home. 

As you feel indisposed at present, Father [Ignazio] Fiore 
will remain ; when you are better, you can go out for some 
time, then Father Fiore may take his turn. 

Father Picone is now hearing the confessions of men and 
women, and as he is Prefect of the students, he can engage 
in the work during the time of studies, of retreat, etc. 

Tell Father Leo from me that he should be patient ; that 
30* 



470 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

he may hear the confessions of men on all feast days ; what 
is done, has always been done. 

I am so much embarrassed at present with missions, especial 
ly with those of Calabria that I find it necessary to set out 
myself sick as I am. 

Now attend solely to the restoration of your health. 

In relation to the controverted points in the Constitution 
of the students here is my answer : 

1. In regard to the semi-retreat of Sunday mornings, an 
hour of preparation and an hour of thanksgiving appear to 
me to be too much ; half an hour for each is sufficient. Let 
there be a conference, a general Communion, a half hour s 
spiritual reading, the Little Hours in common. The rest of the 
time every one may spend in private devotion. 

2. As for going out, let the Prefect accompany them, 
or if he is prevented they may be presided over by a 
discreet student, or the Rector may appoint a Father for 
this purpose. 

The Lector may go out with the students on study days ; 
on recreation days he must go out with the Fathers. 

In reference to spiritual direction, the students should 
address themselves either to the Prefect or the Rector 
of the house. 

I bless you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



1756.] Letter 276. 471 

LETTER 275. 

To Mother Maria di Gesu, at Ripacandida. 
He exhorts her to correct abuses with prudence. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOLA, December 4, [1756]. 

I answer you from Nola, where I am at present. 

I am very glad that you have undertaken to remedy the 
abuses that have been introduced against the Rule. May 
Jesus Christ bless you for your zeal, and give you the 
strength of which you stand in need ! For if in the beginning 
such abuses are introduced, twenty or thirty years will not 
pass by before the entire Rule will have been swept away. 

As for the distressed souls that come to consult you, I 
advise you not to fail to assist them ; since they call upon 
you expressly for this purpose, we may hope that they will 
be docile to your advice. Retrench, however, all useless 
discourse, and endeavor to go straight to the point ; yet do 
this prudently, for you may not be able to do this in the 
beginning. 

Continue to recommend me to Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, 
Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 276. 
To Canon Giacomo Fontana, at Naples. 

He speaks to him about one of his little works : "Rule for 
Seminaries." 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOLA, December 9, [1756]. 

I have received your most esteemed note ; I will send to 
his Eminence for the offering of which you speak. 

The little work on Seminaries is already in press, and 



47 2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

will be issued in accordance with the corrections which you 
have kindly made. 

I shall present a copy of it to all the bishops ; I hope 
that they will read it, as it is short ; and I trust that it will 
redound to the glory of God. 

I shall be at your service, and I beg you to recommend 
me to the Infant Jesus. 

In conclusion, I would most humbly kiss your hand. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

It is to you that I have intrusted the revision of the little 
book on Seminaries, since you have had the kindness to 
read and to correct it. When you read it, you will find all 
your corrections. I will send you the proofs and the 
original that you may compare them. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

Your most humble and devoted servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

The following is the eulogy pronounced by the Canon in 
his report to Cardinal Sersale : 

Most Eminent Sir : In compliance with the order of your 
Eminence I read the little work entitled "Rule for Semi 
naries." The most pious author, always bent upon promoting 
the glory of our Lord, has most accurately explained in this 
work whatever is required for the good direction of semi 
naries; hence I judge that its publication will be a public 
benefit. 

I have the honor to remain, 

Most Eminent Sir, with profound respect, 
your obedient and humble servant, 

CAN. GIACOMO FONTANA. 
NAPLES, December 19, 1756. 



1756.] Letter 277. 473 

LETTER 277. 

To Sister Maria Angela Rosa Graziano, in the Monastery 
of the SS. Rosario at Naples. 

Some advice in regard to the spiritual life. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 12, [1756]. 

I thank you most cordially for the little present, but do 
not inconvenience yourself on my account. 

God knows when I shall go to Naples, especially during 
winter. For the rest, you have no need of me ; you have 
your director and I am far away. 

I send you some spiritual works which I have just 
published. Read especially the Practice of Perfection" 
which comes after the " Novena to St. Teresa," and the 
"Glories of Mary." You can read some of it every day, 
even if only half a page. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa,! 

Write me some particulars about your life, your exercises 
of piety, and your penances. I will then send you a general 
rule which you may follow; however let this be with the 
consent of your director. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of the Redemptorists of 
Saint-Nicolas-du-Port, diocese of Nancy, France. 



474 General Correspondence. [PART 



LETTER 278. 

To Father Emanuele Caldarera, of the Congregation of the 
Oratory at Naples. 

Thanksgiving. Asking for a favor. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, 17, [January] 1757. 

My dear Father Emanuele: I thank you very much for 
having given me to read the first volume of the Trappists. J 
Please to send the others when you can. I have searched 
in Naples in order to find the* Lives of these religious, and 
I did not succeed. You will surely do well if you send 
them to your brother that he also may read them. 

I send you the little works about which you have been 
informed 2 with the letters that accompany them ; if possible 
have them sent to Sicily to one of your friends, and beg 
him to see that they reach their destination. 

It matters little that the name of the bishop is not found 
on some of the letters ; that of the episcopal city is always 
given, and this is sufficient. 

You can now offer the holy Sacrifice; grant me, then, 

1 This work is probably that which was printed in Milan in the 
year 1715 and which bears the title: " I prodigi della grazia espressi 
nella conversione di alcuni grandi peccatori, morti da veri penitenti 
nel monastero della Trappa della stretta osservanza Cistercienze, opera 
transportata dalla lingua francese nell italiana da un monaco di 
Buonsollazzo, e dedicata a Peccatori. The French work had 
appeared in 1696 under the title : " Relations de la mort de quelques 
religieux de 1 Abbaye de la Trappe" (2 vol. in I2mo); 1 Abbe de 
Ranee is the author. The edition of 1713 was enlarged by another 
volume, Paris, Delaulne. 

2 The " Rule for Seminaries." 



1757-3 Letter 279. 475 

my dear Father, a memento in your Mass; I will render 
you the same service. Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 
Believe me always, 

Your very humble and devoted servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the sacristy of the Oratorian 
Fathers at Naples. 

LETTER 279. 

To Sister Maria Angela Rosa Graziano, in the Monastery 
of the SS. Rosario at Naples. 

He exhorts her to a perfect love of Jesus Christ. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, 23, [January, 1757]. 

I yesterday received the box, of which you make me a 
present. I beg our Lord to reward you for it. 

Tell your director that I have been sick for some time 
through his fault ; I mean since the novena which he made 
me preach for him at Nola. 

I am glad that your sister will soon take Jesus Christ for 
her Spouse. As for you who are already the spouse 
of this good Master, love him as a spouse, that is, purely 
through love without having in view temporal or spiritual 
consolations; and when you go to Communion, pray for 
me as I always do for you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved at Rome in the Massimo palace 
in the chapel of the Miracolo di S. Filippo Neri. 



476 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 280. 

To Father Emanuele Caldarera, of the Congregation of the 
Oratory at Naples. 

Thanks for services rendered. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, January 28, 1757. 

My dear Father Emanuele : You may be assured that in 
sending me these Lives of the Trappists I have received 
them as a treasure. I had been looking for them so long a 
time and I could never find them. 

It would be a fine thing if after that the head of the house 
should need ask permission to read his own books ! When 
ever your Reverence wishes again to read the two books 
that I have or the others when you have finished reading 
the former, ^send me word and I will send them at once to 
you. 

I thank you for delivering the letter addressed to the 
bishop. 1 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ, because I have done so 
and am doing so for you with all my heart. I thank you 
again and am at your service. 

Your Reverence knows that I do not wish to be prolix. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Kissing your hand, I 
remain, 

Your very humble and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

1 The letter addressed to the Bishop of Sicily of which mention 
was made in a preceding letter, number 278. 



I757-] Letter 282. 477 



LETTER 28l. 

To Sister Maria Angela Rosa Graziano, in the Monastery 
of the SS. Rosario at Naples. 

She should ask her director for a rule of conduct such as 
she needs. 

[March, 1757?] 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

The following is an answer to your letter. 

Since Don Giov. Battista does not give you a rule of 
conduct such as you need, you must ask him for it. Ask 
him to tell you, for example, how long a time you should 
spend in prayer, what mortifications you are to practise, 
how often you are to communicate, etc. Always ask for 
Communions and mortifications, and then obey what is 
prescribed. 

As for myself, it is impossible that I should direct you so 
far away , and moreover, I have no time at my disposal. 

Pray to Jesus for me. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and 
Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 282. 

To the Same. 
He exhorts her to persevere in prayer. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, April 8, [1757.] 

I have received your letter together with the present, for 
which I thank you ; but for pity s sake do not inconvenience 
yourself on my account. 



478 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

I have not at present any occasion to go to Naples; 
when I shall be able to go there I shall call upon you. But 
you have your director; in what way could I be of service 
to you? 

This morning Don Giov. Battista was here, and he told 
me that you are doing well ; this gave me much pleasure. 

As for prayer, that which we perform without relish is 
the best; for the less it pleases us, the more it pleases Jesus 
Christ. 

Always recommend me to Jesus Christ as I recommend 
you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Do not be uneasy in regard to the fancies that importune 
you during prayer; despise them, and quietly proceed by 
offering to God this pain. The devil would like to have 
you abandon prayer; spite him by remaining faithful to 
prayer. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

LETTER 283. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

He speaks of a mission that is to be given and of various 
other subjects. 

NOCERA, April 17, [1757]. 

Be so good as to see to it that this letter may safely reach 
Giuseppe Caselle. Read the letter addressed to me by the 
Vicar-General of Salerno; he continues to insist that we 
should give a mission at Castelluccia. Try in any case to 
send at least two Fathers; however, two cannot do the 
work ; we need three of them ; and it would be well to go 
to Teora immediately after. In a word, see to it that this 
little mission be given immediately, and for this purpose let 



Letter 28 j. 479 

everything else be laid aside. You should without delay 
inform Father Fiocchi of this arrangement. 

My dear Gasparo, how painful it was to me to see what 
Father N. has done ! I had begged him several times, and 
the last time I begged him most earnestly, to go to Iliceto 
to speak to Francesco Antonio Maffei, and instead of going 
himself he sent a messenger to ask Maffei whether he 
wished to see him. This made Maffei still more angry, 
and he renewed his prohibition to gather even dry wood in 
the forest. 1 

If we have Maffei against us, it will be all over with this 
house. My God, how can I direct the Congregation when 
people act in this manner ! Let me know why he did not 
wish to go there. Did he perhaps feel unwell? I purpose 
to give him a severe penance, but I shall wait for a more 
favorable opportunity. 

As for Brother N. I must say that I tremble for him ; for 
he seems to me to be of a disposition not easy to get along 
with. However, as to the affair of the blows given to a 
novice, I have found out that that was not true; for he 
scarcely touched his head in a playful way. But there is 
no doubt that he has committed a thousand faults. The 
letter, however, that he has written to me has consoled me. 
Let him read my answer to him, and be kind enough to 
direct him and make him render an account of all that he 
does, because he is a subject of great hopes. 

Then tell Brother N. that his letter has afforded me great 
pleasure. His penance shall consist in one more visit to the 
Blessed Sacrament, that he may obtain the grace of practis 
ing obedience, and I bless him also. I do not write to him 
a special letter, because I am not able. 

1 Maffei was the agent at Iliceto of the Prince of Castellaneta, 
and as the officials of the commune depended on him, he succeeded 
in preventing our Fathers from cutting wood, and from using other 
privileges. 



480 General Correspondence. [PART r. 

I bless you all, and especially your Reverence in the 
pitiable state in which you are now. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 284. 
To Don Giuseppe Caselle, at Rappola. 

He recommends to him that he should regulate his family 
affairs. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, April 18, 1757. 

I have just received your last letter. 

All goes well. As for myself, do not be uneasy. Quod 
scripsi, scripsi. [What I have written, I have written.] 
Do not spend your time in entertaining doubts. Devote 
yourself to the arranging of your family affairs, so that you 
may no more be annoyed by them. 1 In the mean time 
finish the study of Moral Theology, and recommend me to 
Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 285. 

To a Father of the Congregation. 
Hints as to the composition of a theological treatise. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

June 3, [the year uncertain]. 

Ask in my name Father N. to compose a treatise de 
Incarnatione to be studied by our young men, because that 
of Father N. does not please me ; but do not let the latter 
know this. 

I should wish him to consult various authors, such as 

1 He did not enter the Congregation, or at least he did not make 
his profession. 



ITS?.] Letter 286. 48 1 

Giovenino, Habert, Contensone, Petavio, Tournely, Gonet, 
the Manual of Petrocorese, and to write not a book, but 
Elements in which may be found the principal things. On 
each question let only the principal reasons as also the 
principal objections be given in a concise but clear style. 
The Elements should exhibit the general notions of certain 
things and of things controverted, so that one may thereby 
avoid advancing an error or affirming anything that is 
controverted. If need be, let him read those authors that 
treat the matter in detail. 

Let Father N. read these remarks, and gradually set to 
work to compose the treatise, especially as I hear that he 
has already begun to do so. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 286. 
To Father Celestino de Robertis. 

He begs him to change his place of abode. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

June 4, 1757. 

My dear Celestino : I see that in that house [of S. Angelo 
a Cupolo] your Reverence and Father Villani do not agree 
because between you two there exists a spirit of contra 
diction; for this reason I have to remove either your 
Reverence or Father Andrea [Villani]. 

But it is not convenient for me at present to take away 
F. Andrea, because the Archbishop [of Benevento] has 
asked me not to take the latter from him ; hence if now I 
remove him I should displease the archbishop. I therefore 
beg you to leave that house immediately and to go to 
Ciorani as soon as possible. 

When setting out perform some act of humility in regard 
to Father Andrea, because I do not wish that any grudge 
should remain between you. A divergence of opinion 
31 



482 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

or of appreciation should not take its abode in the heart 
of him who wishes only God. 

I bless you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in our house at Innsbruck, 
Tyrol. 

LETTER 287. 
To Mgr. Vito Moio, Bishop of Muro. 

Promise made to a prelate who was ill-disposed towards 
the Institute. 

[June 8, 1757.] 

We the undersigned, Rector Major and Fathers of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, promise and 
also bind ourselves with an oath tacto pectore more sacer- 
dotali [with the hand on the breast after the manner of priests 
taking an oath], not to receive nor cause to be received 
into our, the said Congregation any subject (of whatever 
state, grade, and condition, for whatever motive and even 
most important reason) of the city and diocese of Muro, 
without the express consent of Monsignor the Bishop of that 
city and diocese ; which consent for greater caution must be 
in writing. 

The 8th day of June, 1757. 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, Rector Major, promises and 
swears as above. 

Giovanni Mazzini, Consultor, promises and swears as 
above. Francesco Maria Margotta, Consultor, promises 
and swears as above. Girolamo Ferrara, Consultor, prom 
ises and swears as above. Lorenzo d Antonio, Proc 
urator-General, promises and swears as above. Celestino 
de Robertis promises and swears as above. Francesco 
del Corpo promises and swears as above. Donato Me- 



I757-] Letter 288. 483 

laccio promises and swears as above. Pietro Blasucci 
promises and swears as above. Gaetano Spero promises 
and swears as above. Pasquale Bianco promises and 
swears as above. Mauro Murante promises and swears as 
above. Pasquale Amendolara promises and swears as 
above. Salvatore Gallo promises and swears as above. 
After the original preserved in our house at Pagani. 

LETTER 288. 
To Father Gasparo Caione, Rector of the House at Caposele. 

He requests him to watch over the observance of the 
Rule and the preservation of the Jiealth of the subjects. 
Rules in regard to the teaching of theology. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, 15, [July, I757-] 

You have answered wonderfully well in regard to the 
ordinary confessor for Calitri. 1 Continue now to say that 
you do not dare to write to me on the subject, because that 
would give me much pain, and I would never consent to so 
grave a thing against the Rule, no, never ; I say no more. 

Father Margotta says that when there is question of the 
interests of the whole Congregation, we should know how 
to resist and be deaf to every solicitation for three and even 
ten years. 2 

As for Prater Ricca, let him recover entirely, for he has 
always been ailing and weak; in October we shall speak 
of his coming. 3 

1 The Archbishop of Conza wished to impose on the Fathers 
of Caposele the duty of hearing the confessions of the nuns of 
Calitri ; a thing that was forbidden by the Rule of the Institute. 

2 Father Margotta was a native of Calitri. It was he whom the 
archbishop wished to have as confessor of the nuns. 

3 The young man Amato Ricca had begun his novitiate March 
25 of this year, but on account of weak health he was sent to 
Caposele. He made his profession at Ciorani, April 20, 1758. 



484 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

I await Brother Giuseppe Caputo to arrange matters for 
the ordination of his son. 1 

Send Father [Pietro] Petrella to Ciorani to drink the 
waters. Here no more persons are received. 

As for the affair of Brother N. reported to me by Father 
Ferrara, do you really believe that I ever lent an ear to 
what that good Brother said? The Brother, you know, 
often talks nonsense, and I reprimanded him severely ; still 
he will always remain what he is. 

I hear that several students have been a little unwell. 
In the morning, during the hot weather, let them go 
out during the time one may walk without being in 
convenienced by the sun, that is, before the sun becomes 
very warm. 

I wish that the students should enjoy good health; it 
matters little that they lose on this account two hours 
of study. Let them go out also in the evening, and have 
at least an hour s recreation. 

If you have still to speak in reference to the confessor for 
Calitri, express yourself in regard to the matter yet more 
strongly. Arrange things in such a way that, if it can be 
done, I may not be obliged to write about this subject ; for 
if I must write I should have to express myself with still 
greater force, and we might thereby displease the arch 
bishop. 

As for Frater [D. Vincenzo] Striano I should like to 
know what is to be done; I shall have to reflect on the 
matter. 

As for the scholastic questions about the sacraments, I 
do not wish that there be taught opinions contrary to those 
that we hold in Moral Theology. I speak of the principal 

1 Giuseppe Caputo, having become a widower, retired into our 
Congregation in company with his son, and became a lay-brother. 
When the time for his son s ordination drew near, he was expected 
at Ciorani to settle about the patrimony of his son. 



I757-] Letter 28 8. 485 

questions ; of attrition, of the minister of marriage, and also 
of the intention that the minister must have to do what the 
Church does, etc. 

In important and the like principal questions I wish that 
the common opinions and those that I myself teach in my 
Moral Theology should be followed and maintained as 
much as possible. I do not write specially to Father Leo 
because the Brother is about to depart ; but you may tell 
him that on this point I do not wish him to make any 
reply. If the Lector holds a contrary opinion, let him 
keep it to himself; for the rest he must practise obedience, 
and endeavor to defend our opinions by the best possible 
reasons, endeavoring to become attached only to those 
opinions that are conformable to obedience. 

Tell Father Leo that I shall not listen to Father N 

and that he should guide himself as seems best to him. It 
"will be sufficient that a two year s course in theology be 
given, and that the principal treatises, de Deo, de Trinitate, 
de Incarnatione, and de Gratia be taught. Ask him from 
me not to devote too much time to history, as Father 
[Alessandro de] Meo has done. 

What I wish him to do is to explain thoroughly the 
dogmas, the distinctions, terms, and principal questions 
treated by the scholastics: these, called Elements, are 
necessary for preaching, etc. As for the rest, every one 
will study what he can. 

I have spoken of certain questions, such as the institution 
of marriage, etc. I have not done so in order to criticise 

N I intended to write to him, for I do not wish 

outsiders to look upon us as fanatics, nor as would-be-learned 
men. Common opinions as a general rule are the most 
probable, and when we follow opinions that are common, 
we cannot be criticised. 

Recommend to Frater [D. Giuseppe di] Lucia not to be 
uneasy about what he hears those say that are not Supe- 
31* 



486 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

riors; and when he hears the Superior speak, he should 
grow calm by conforming to obedience; and if obedience 
requires that he should not study, such will certainly be the 
will of God. 

I bless all. 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[/*. S.~] I do not wish that Purcozio 1 should be any 
more criticised as I hear that he is, for the purpose 
of bringing him into discredit. This book has met with 
general approval ; why should we criticise it ? If any one 
wishes to find fault with it, let him do so privately; for my 
part I wish to be obeyed. If obedience ceases with us, it 
will be all over with the Congregation. 

Privately: N. N. . . . writes to me in great trouble that 
the spirit is waning, poverty is practised only partially and 
charity is no longer disinterested; do not say a word to 
him, for he has written to me with great secrecy. Be care 
ful. This subject makes me tremble. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

After the Neapolitan edition of 1848. 

LETTER 289. 

To Sister Maria di Gesu, Carmelite, at Ripacandida. 2 
He exhorts her to patience and gives her other advice. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, July 22, [1757]. 

I have received your letter of July 4, with the letter 
of Marquis Brancone. 

1 Edmond Purchot (Purcozio), Rector of the Paris university 
(1651 I734)- The fourth edition of his Institutiones philosophies 
appeared at Lyons and at Paris in 1753. The edition of Padua is 
of 1751. 

2 After one year of government this holy religious had again 
become a simple subject. 



ITS?.] Letter 289. 487 

How great was the joy I felt when I learned that you had 
descended to the rank of a simple subject for the greatest 
benefit of your soul ! But the harrowing fears that produce 
in your soul a sort of agony cause me still greater joy. 
If you had not these trials I should fear that you are not a 
true disciple of Jesus Christ; for Jesus Christ treats his 
cherished souls as he himself has been treated. Oh, how 
beautiful it is to walk in the way of the cross and to 
accompany our blessed Redeemer! Oh, how sure is this 
road on which one cannot go astray ! 

I feel very grateful to you for the remembrance of me in 
your prayers. Continue, I entreat you, to remember me 
always, especially now, when having fewer external cares, 
you can commune with Jesus Christ all by yourself. 

I do not write specially to Sister Maria Celeste, but I 
communicate to her through you who knows all. Recom 
mend to her, my dear Mother, not to say to Mgr. [Teodoro 
Basta] that she does not wish his direction ; and induce her 
not to take another director: this would not be proper. 
Let her keep herself in peaceful indifference, and in her 
difficulties let her ask your advice. 

I send you the portrait of Brother Gerardo; 1 it is one 
of those that Don Benedetto gave me and that he had 
printed. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

1 The Venerable Brother Gerardo Maria Maiella died in the odor 
of sanctity, October 15, 1755. Father Caione had his portrait taken 
and many copies of it were printed at the expense of Don Benedetto 
Grazioli of Atella who had held the holy Brother in the highest 
esteem. This esteem was shared by Sister Maria di Gesu who had 
the happiness of speaking more than once with the Venerable 
Brother. She had been a witness of one of his ecstasies. See Life 
of Brother Gerardo. 



488 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 290. 
To the Same. 

The feelings of the king towards the Congregation are not 
those of Marquis Brancone. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, October 2, [1757?] 

A few lines only. I have had the fever for many days 
past; but to-day, thanks be to God, I am free from it. 

Canon Caselle has already arrived ; but I have yet to 
speak to him at my leisure. Pray to God to grant him the 
necessary strength ; for in the embarrassed state in which 
we find ourselves many privations will have to be endured. 

In regard to Marquis Brancone, I thank you for the zeal 
with which you have recommended us to him. May Jesus 
Christ reward you for this! But, my dear Sister, if our 
affairs do not turn out well, it will not be Brancone s fault. 
He does all that he can to assist us. It is the king that 
does not wish to grant our request; this he himself has 
declared to the Archbishop of Naples who spoke to him in 
our favor. We must then ask God to change the heart 
of the king. However, may God bless his Majesty, and 
may we become saints ! 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ and salute for me all your 
Sisters. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



I757-] Letter 291. 489 

LETTER 291. 
To the Fathers of His Congregation. 

Explanations as to the vow of poverty. -- Various Recom 
mendations. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, October 3, 1757. 

My dear Brethren in Jesus Christ: For the benefit 
of general observance I have thought it to be my duty to 
lay down the following rules : 

After having carefully examined with the Consultors 
whether it is contrary to poverty to receive uncertain 
restitutions, and whether the confessors can apply them at 
their pleasure to pious works, it has been decided upon the 
authority of Doctors and upon the authority of reason that 
to act so would undoubtedly be against poverty. 

Father Lohner in his Bibliotheca manualis puts this 
question: Is it permitted (to a religious) to receive money 
or anything else to distribute among the poor? and he 
answers : By receiving any object with the power of giving 
it to these persons or those, he that receives it would act 
against his vow if he distributed it at his own pleasure 
without being authorized to do so by his Superior; because 
it is out of order that he that is bound by the vow of poverty 
should act as if he had the ownership or the use of what 
has been put into his hands ^ For the same reason Father 
Rodriguez says that "not only is it contrary to the vow 

1 " An liceat ab alio pecuniam accipere , vel simile quid, quod 
in pauperes distribuatur ?" (Et respondet :) " Si ita accipiat ut libe- 
rum ei sit his vel illis dare, turn omnino contra votum facturum, si 
accipiat sine facultate (Superioris), cum neque proprietas, neque 
usus illius rei, independens a Superiore, cuiquam paupertatis voto 
obstricto conveniat." Paupertas, torn. 3, tit. 1 1 2, ii. in fine. 



490 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

of poverty to take a thing as one s own, but to have the 
use and free disposal of it without the permission of the 
Superior." 1 

Azor says that this decision is conformable to the 
common opinion of authors. It is equally certain, he says, 
a religious cannot have any peculium of the second kind 
(that is, with the faculty of disposing of it at his own 
pleasure) ; for the use or the administration of a good 
is indeed repiignant to the vow of poverty as long as the 
Superior cannot direct in this the will of his inferior. 
In fact, a religious cannot possess anything as his own; now 
the power of using or disposing of property without de 
pendence on the will of the Superior would be eqiial to the 
possession of a thing as one s own? It is for the same 
reason, adds Azor, that the Council of Trent has decided 
that the use of movable property belongs only to those who 
are officials, and that they are to act only according to the 
will of the Superior? 

The reason of this decision is clear; because the use 
of an object that is made independently of the will of the 
Superior by him that is bound by the vow of poverty in an 
act of ownership, which is injurious to the vow. 

This being established, in order to relieve myself from 
every scruple as to the oath that I have taken to permit no 
personal use independent of the Superior, and also to 

1 Religious Perfection, part 3, treat. 3, ch. 15. 

2 " Certi item juris est, non posse religiosum secundi generis 
peculium habere : nam etiam voto paupertatis repugnat usus vel 
administratio, in qua Abbas nutu suo monachurn amovere non 
possit ; religiosus enim nihil proprium habere potest, sed usus vel 
administratio, quam quis pro libitu habet, nullius alterius voluntati 
subjectam, est aliquid proprium." Azor, part. i. lib. 12, cap. 9, 
vers. Hoc posito, 

3 " Administratio autem bonorum monasteriorum seu conventuum 
ad solos officiales eorumdem, ad nutum Superiorum amovibiles, 
pertineat." Sess. 25, de Regular, et MoniaL cap. 2. 



I757-] Letter 2 c> i. 491 

obviate many other inconveniences, I have found it expedient 
to ordain, and by these presents I ordain for each and all, 
that all uncertain restitutions received by our confessors, 
when they are at home, should be carried to the Rector, to 
be employed in pious works ; and if they are on missions 
these restitutions shall be put into the hands of the Superior 
of the missions, who shall use it with prudence for the 
expenses of the mission, or to give them in alms. Finally, 
in order to avoid all violation and all misinterpretation 
of the ordinance I am giving, I expressly forbid confessors 
to suggest to their penitents that they should express the 
intention that the restitution be assigned to such or such a 
work ; for this would be eluding this ordinance. 

As for the obedience that is due to me, I am often 
obliged to repeat the same things in order to be obeyed. 
Where is then, my Brethren, this delicate fidelity that God 
asks of you? What peace can a subject have who acts 
contrary to the intention of his Superior? As for myself, I 
know not how this can be excused before God. I fear that 
some great chastisement from God will befall him. It is 
only twenty-four years since the Congregation has been 
established; and if such behavior continues, what will 
become of it a hundred years hence ? 

I recommend to you what the Rule says about letter- 
writing. I do not wish the subjects to receive letters 
unless they have before submitted them to the inspection 
of the Superior. He shall not read them if they regard 
matters of conscience ; otherwise I charge the Superiors to 
open all the other letters without exception, and at least to 
glance over them before giving them to the religious to 
whom they are addressed. 

I expressly forbid our religious to go to the houses 
of seculars without permission from the Superior, unless in 
a case of urgent necessity when there is no time to ask 
permission. I specially recommend that we should not go 



492 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

to the monasteries of nuns without the permission of the 
Rector himself. 

I earnestly recommend that no one should make known 
to strangers the affairs of the Congregation or of the house. 
What misery it is to see strangers better instructed about 
our affairs than our own people ! 

I again advise and recommend that when there is question 
of allowing the subjects to spend the night outside of our 
houses, especially if it is for several days, you take care to 
give me notice if there be time to do so. 

I recommend that obedience should be paid to the 
Superiors of the houses and of the missions as it is paid to 
myself. In regard to this I have heard many complaints. 

The Chapter has declared that in reference to the 
question of knowing whether as to the expenses of more 
than twelve scudi the Consultors have a decisive voice, we 
should conform to the practice of the Pious Workers. In 
formation on this subject has been asked, and the answer 
was in the affirmative. Let all the Rectors, therefore, be 
guided by this decision. 

I earnestly request that no postulant be sent to me to be 
received, unless I have previously received notice. 

I strictly enjoin that there be put in execution the 
ordinance of the Chapter prescribing that in every house a 
book should be kept of receipts and expenses also of the 
alms; moreover that in the sacristy, as the Sovereign 
Pontiff ordains, there be a table giving the Masses that 
have been founded. 

I recommend above all that the Masses be not said with 
precipitation ; for this would give more scandal in us than 
in other priests. 

As to the missions, I advise (i) a day of retreat 
for each month. Let us (2) not seek to have particular 
food during the missions; provided we have soup and 
boiled meat, we should not ask for anything else. The 



I757-] Letter 291. 493 

observance of this rule will give great edification ; if now we 
begin to relax in it, we shall in a short time relax in 
everything. (3) We should not, especially on missions, 
make confidants of strangers; let there be no useless 
conversation . We must always be polite although we 
should be reserved. (4) I recommend modesty of the 
eyes; it is even more necessary than the preaching 
of sermons. (5) The Chapter of faults should be held on all 
the missions. (6) We should guard against joking in the 
presence of strangers. Let the Superior always appoint a 
censor who is to take notice of faults and to inform me 
of them. (7) There should always be a Prefect of the 
church, and a Prefect of peace ; the latter may at the same 
time take charge of those that are engaged to be married, 
and he should persuade them to marry as soon as possible. 
(8) I recommend to him that is charged to preach the 
principal sermons to recite with the people before the 
sermon, morning and evening prayers according to the 
formula that I have indicated in my little book. We 
should recommend the tolling of the bell to announce that 
some one is dying ; let the manner of tolling be different 
according to the rank of the person. We should invite the 
faithful to recite then an Our Father and a Hail Mary for 
the dying. This practice is useful both for the sick and for 
those that are in good health. 

I embrace you all in Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 



494 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 292. 

To Sister Maria Angela Rosa Graziano, in the Convent of the 
SS. Rosario at Naples. 

He recommends to her obedience and perfect detachment. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

[NOCERA], October 16, [1757]. 

I answer your letter. 

As regards your direction, I have assigned to you a 
good guide ; obey him then, and you will become a saint. 

As for mortifications, ask for them frequently; then do 
what you are told. I rejoice that you are detached from 
your relatives, but I regret that you are so troubled on 
account of my absence. All your affections, you should 
know, should be reserved for the infinite Good who alone 
merits all love. Moreover, when I go to Naples, all my 
time is taken up with business, and I afterwards try to go 
away as soon as possible without seeing relatives or friends. 
You will then do well to pray for me. On my part, I pray 
to Jesus to your intention that Jesus Christ may entirely 
possess your heart without any reserve. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



I757-] Letter 294. 495 

LETTER 293. 

To the Same. 

Recommendations in regard to obedience. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, 28, [October, 1757?] 

Since Don Giovanni Battista is absent, provided he has 
not returned, begin to do what I have told you ; but on his 
return, ask him for the necessary permissions. Pray to 
Jesus Christ and Mary for me. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

LETTER 294. 

To Mother Maria Cherubina Dei Sette Dolori, Carmelite 
at Ripacandida. 

He exhorts her zealously to maintain regular observance. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, October 29, [1757]. 

I have read your letter, and I see with regret that you 
are so timid, and that you have too much consideration 
when there is question of maintaing regular observance : for 
the loss of observance is the ruin of the monastery ; and 
if you begin thus, what will happen later? 

S. Andrea Avellino, when there was question of ob 
servance, always raised his voice against those Superiors on 
whom regular observance depended. Speak then forcibly, 
and speak always, without troubling yourself about the fact 
that you are regarded as indiscreet and imprudent. 

Yes, for a work of charity, the Prioress can sometimes 



49 6 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

omit the common acts, but if this happen often, it would 
not be well. 

For you as well as for the others to have special con 
veniences -without a particular reason, for instance, on 
account of sickness or the like, is a disorder that may ruin 
the Community. I say the same of other things. 

Prayer is recited before meals, after meals, and at all 
times, even in the last agony ; do not therefore fear to pray 
after having eaten, and even to read something, though 
this should be done without effort. 

When you write, write briefly, and only what is neces 
sary. Pray every day for me. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 295. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

He indicates to him the manner of treating a student who 
is tempted against his vocation. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

November 3, [1757]. 

My dear Don Gasparo: Prater Siniscalchi is very much 
disturbed, and I see that he has many faults. I shall 
answer him accordingly. But, what can be done ? Let us 
apply the best remedy that we can. 

I have written to him that he should depend on you ; try 
to arrange this matter. He has, as far as I can see, a taste 
for the study of Moral Theology; but Father Leo wishes 
him to review arithmetic and those things that he has 
already studied, and requires him to spend the whole 
morning in this kind of study. 

It is indeed useless to make him repeat what he has 
already gone through. Hence it is my wish that he should 
apply himself to Moral Theology according as you . may 






Letter 295. 497 

judge best, as I am too far away and cannot attend to this 
matter. Act as if all this came from yourself and settle 
everything. Let us in this way remedy two evils. 

Prater Siniscalchi says, moreover, that you as well as 
Father Leo cannot look at him, and that you tell Father 
Leo all that you know about him. I tell you this for your 
own guidance, but I beg you to keep this a secret. 

He is a young man of much talent, yet at present he is 
weak and very much tempted. 1 Let us help him as far as 
we can without prejudice to regular observance. 

The retreat of half a day on Sundays should last till the 
signal is given for dinner, and no longer ; after this time 
there is no longer any retreat. 2 

Among other things Frater Siniscalchi complains that 
when he speaks to you, you scarcely answer him. I inform 
you of this that you may treat him with greater con 
sideration ; for you must know that he is violently tempted. 

Tell Father Leo that I have ordered twelve copies 
of Tournely s Compendium ; but these cost money and I 
am bankrupt. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved at Rome in our convent at 
Monterone. 

1 Francesco Siniscalchi, knew not how to overcome the temp 
tations that assailed him and he was allowed to leave the Con 
gregation, December 30, of this year 1757. Having then become a 
priest, he was a few years afterwards assassinated in Sicily by a 
friend to whom he had lent some money. 

2 The students of the Congregation must make a short retreat 
every Sunday till the signal which is given before dinner. 



498 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 296. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia. 

He reproaches him for having revealed to him too late the 
unworthiness of a novice. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, November 25, [year uncertain]. 

I have received your letter, and I say: May God make 
you a saint ! 

Only now, you and Father N., etc., send me information 
in regard to Prater P. after he has made the vows ! Had I 
known what I know now, I would have dismissed him a 
thousand times. But now what is to be done ? 

I had put off the profession, and still nothing was said to 
me . Well ! may God make you all saints ! I have 
restricted him so that he might take his departure of his 
own accord. I have sent him word that he should not 
think of Mass, etc. In a word, may God make you all 
saints! to have waited till now to send me the necessary 
information ! Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 297. 

To Father Pietro Blasucci, 1 Prefect of the Students at 
Ciorani. 

How he should act in regard to an indocile student. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, December 20, 1757. 

Oh, what a fine remedy you have found for Prater 
Tamangi ! / shall send him back to you at Christmas! 

1 Father Pietro Paolo Blasucci, one of the chief ornaments of our 
Congregation, was born at Ruvo, in the diocese of Muro, February 
22, 1729. Having finished the humanities and philosophy, he found 



1757-1 Letter 297. 499 

I absolutely forbid your Reverence and all the Superiors 
(and tell this to all, to the Rector, Father Saverio, etc.) 
never to send him to me ; and I particularly forbid him to 
call upon me unless he has first humbled himself and comes 
to ask my pardon; tell him that unless he does this he 
shall never see my face again. Command him then in my 
name to come no more in search of me, if he has not 
changed. 

If he wishes to write to me, let him do so ; but I have 
already told him that if he speaks to me about a dispen 
sation I will, at the very beginning while reading his letter, 
tear it to pieces and send him no answer. 

/ will therefore send him to you at Christmas! Now 
what more have I to say to him that I have not told 
him? If he begins to commit faults, and does not wish to 
study for the purpose of leaving the Community, make an 
arrangement with the Superior; have recourse to punish 
ments, to fasts ; keep him away from the society of others ; 
take away his Communions. 

In regard to Communions do what you think best ; but 

himself impelled to follow the generous example of his younger 
brother Domenico, who had entered our Institute, and secretly fled 
from his father s house. He received the habit, August 14, 1752, 
and on the same clay of the following year, he made his profession. 
We may easily form an estimate of his talents, of his prudence and 
of his other striking qualities when we learn that St. Alphonsus 
promoted him, though he was still a young man, to the important 
position of Superior and director of the Sicilian missions. Blasucci 
was only thirty-two years of age when he undertook to found the 
house at Girgenti. It would take a large volume to record all his 
labors on that abandoned island, and the many petty annoyances 
which he had to suffer from evil-minded men and from the civil 
authorities. In the year 1792, Father Pietro Paolo was elected 
Superior-General of the Congregation , and after governing the 
Institute in a saintly manner for twenty-four years, he died full 
of virtue and merit in our house of S. Michele de Pagani, May 13, 
1817, at the age of eighty-eight. 



500 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

as for so many Communions for one that is unfaithful, for 
one that wishes to abandon God, after God has called and 
accepted him, I know not what good they can do him. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

As for [the student Don Giuseppe] Paravento, of course 
send him with the others to Iliceto for the feast. 

With regard to the young man of Cava, he has been 
accepted, but it will be necessary to have an understanding 
with Mgr. Borgia. He himself will speak to you. Live 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in our convent at St. Trond, 
Belgium. 

LETTER 298. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia, Master of Novices at Iliceto. 

He earnestly recommends to him a postulant. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa! 

NOCERA, April 5, 1758. 

Read the enclosed letter which I have addressed to 
Father Rector [Francesco Giovenale], and send it at once 
to him by a messenger. 

I recommend to you this young man; give him the 
habit, and show him great charity ; listen to him every time 
that he wishes to speak to you, and assist him, for he is a 
subject of great promise. He is now well disposed, but he 
is greatly tormented by temptation, having led in the past 
rather a free life. 

If he should unfortunately fall into sin, frighten him, but 
at the same time animate him with confidence for all that. 
Do not you yourself lose confidence if he now and then 



1758.] Letter 299. 501 

happens to fall. Say the same to Father Gisone 1 or to 
any other Father whom this young man chooses as his con 
fessor. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 299. 

To the Priest Angelo Maione,2 in the Novitiate at Iliceto. 
His fears in regard to the health of this novice. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, April 9, 1758. 

My dear Don Angelo: I have read your letter; but I 
also received a letter from Father Master, in which he 
informs me that he has it from your own mouth that you 
have been suffering from this pain in the head for several 
years, and that you are troubled even with vertigo. 

My dear Don Angelo, if it is true that you are subject to 
this headache, how could you remain in the Congregation 
in which one must give much time to spiritual exercises, 
and remain shut up during the novitiate, and then besides 
these exercises apply one s self to one s studies? If you 
fatigue your head by forced work, you will entirely ruin 
your health, you will become useless both to yourself and 
to the Congregation, and you will lead a miserable life ; for 
if the pain has once become settled in the head, it cannot 
be got rid of. 

However, I do not say that you should leave at once ; 

1 Father Gisone was then socius of Father Tannoia, or assistant 
of the Master of novices. 

2 Don Angelo Maione was born at S. Domenico, in the diocese 
of Cassano, March 17, 1733, and was admitted into the novitiate, 
August 15, 1758; he made his profession, April 15, of the following 
year. For a long time he was a most useful member of the 

.Congregation, but unfortunately he afterwards disgraced himself by 
attempting to introduce the Regolamento, a matter which is treated 
in the " Life of St. Alphonsus." 

32* 



502 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

let us wait a little while to see how things will turn out. 
Consult Signer N., and let me know what he says when he 
returns; tell him to write to me clearly what he thinks 
of your health. Recommend me to Jesus Christ. 
After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 300. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia. 

Various counsels relative to the Master of novices and to 
the novitiate. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, April 10, 1758. 

I have received a copy of the long address against N.; 
and I have also received the reproof that you administer to 
me. 

I well understand that the Master of novices would be 
more tranquil if he himself were the Rector of the house ; 
that would be better for his own repose, but still greater 
inconveniences would result therefrom. 

I shall write to the Rector and mark out for him a line 
of conduct, and let him know that he should not interfere in 
the internal concerns of the novitiate ; but it will not be well 
to let others see my letter; it suffices that I write him 
privately. 

As for the young man, I will briefly, as I am not well, 
point out to you what you should do. Keep him still on 
trial at least for a month ; watch his behavior, and after this 
delay, if he conducts himself well, give him the habit. 

As for the disease from which he has been suffering, the 
doctors write to me that he has entirely recovered. If this 
be not true, it will be a disease that one cannot hide, and 
then we have still one year for his probation. In the mean 
time it would be well to try him by mortifications ; and 



1758.] Letter 301. 503 

then, if he receives the habit, we should always subject him 
to trial. 

I also hear that the priest of Masi has a delicate stomach 
so that he cannot retain his food. Write to me what is his 
condition. 

I bless you all. In summer you may permit the novices 
to go out evenings. 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 301. 

To the Same. 

The saint makes some arrangements in the novitiate and 
the house at Iliceto. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, April 29, 1758. 

As for Scalese, 1 I wish him a happy journey. 

In regard to Maione, inform me how he is doing. He has 
written me a very touching letter. 

When your Reverence comes here, bring with you the 
directory, since the series of exercises for the morning 
appear to me to be too long; try to divide it. And now 
that the weather has become warm, it will be necessary for 
the novices to go out often. 

When Father Polestra comes, tell him privately that I 
appoint him inspector of the house. He should inform me 
every month of any disorder that strikes him as important : 
I say important, because it will not be necessary to send 
word to me about trifles. It will be sufficient if he writes to 
me this one line : there is nothing of importance. 

Tell Father Giovenale that I do not write to him, as 
there is no news. 

Father [Stefano] Liguori has arrived in time ; had he not 

1 A novice just dismissed. 



504 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

arrived, there would have been great confusion, because 
there was no one to give the spiritual exercises to the 
priests. 

The three novices * that have been sent have been ad 
mitted to profession. 

Believe me, dear Father, 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[Postscript by the secretary]: Our Father says that at 
table should be read li Disinganni 2 till it is finished, but 
only the Lives, not the Reflections. 

After the original preserved in the archives of our house at 
Pagani. 

LETTER 302. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

One cannot without the gravest inconveniences absolve a 
subject who has left the Congregation without having re 
ceived his dispensation. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

May 30, 1758. 

My God ! what news must I hear from that house ! I 
learn that in consequence of a consultation held by several, 
N. has been absolved on condition that he asks for a dis 
pensation ! Now he has hundreds of times asked me for 

1 These three novices, sent from Iliceto to Ciorani before their 
profession, were Amato Ricca, Teodosio Telesca , and Andrea 
Morza. They made their vows April 20 into the hands of Father 
Pietro Paolo Blasucci. 

2 The title of this work is as follows: " Disinganni per vivere e 
morire bene, sopra le cinque parole di S. Paolo apostolo, opera 
composta dal P. Francesco della Croce, carmelitano scalzo." (Dis- 
enchantments, or Instructions to Live and Die Well, founded on 
Five Words of St. Paul the Apostle. Work composed by Father 
Francis of the Cross, a discalced Carmelite.) 



1758.] Letter 302. 505 

a dispensation ; it was, therefore, not necessary for you to 
to impose this upon him as an obligation. In short, what 
he could not obtain from Rome he has obtained from this 
house ! 

Oh, what pain has it been to me to hear such news! 
But what necessity was there for you to touch upon so 
delicate a point on which depends the maintenance of the 
Congregation? If you thought that he could- be absolved 
on this condition, were there no other confessors in the 
world to absolve him ? As to the one that has thus absolved 
him outside of the danger of death, I do not know how he 
could have formed his conscience. When there is question 
of doing difficult things, as has really happened, one does 
not give absolution before the accomplishment of that which 
has to be performed. 

And then whence should this dispensation come? I for 
my part will never give it, if he that leaves without dis 
pensation does not return to the Congregation. When he 
returns and has received the required penances, then I will 
reflect on what should be done. I judge that this is the 
way every Rector Major should act, if he does not wish to 
lose his soul and be the cause of ruin to the Congregation. 

I have conferred with the Cardinal Penitentiary at Rome 
in regard to this matter; and if I should see that the 
Penitentiary would grant such dispensation, I would resolve 
to write and write again to the Sovereign Pontiff. But our 
house at N. does what the Penitentiary at Rome does 
not do! 

Communicate the contents of my letter to all the Fathers 
of your Community, and especially to those that have 
given this beautiful advice. I also beg you to make known 
in accordance with prudence the substance of this letter to 
all our young men [students] and to the Brothers so that 
this example may not be the cause of ruin to others. 

After the Roman edition. 



506 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 303. 

To Father Emanuele Caldarera, of the Congregation of the 
Oratory. 

He testifies his friendship for him and recommends himself 
to his prayers. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, June 9, 1758. 

My dear Father Emanuele : I am consoled to hear of the 
little present that you have received from Jesus Christ, 
of the mortification that he has sent you ; but I am sorry on 
account of the loss of souls. 

Be without disquietude; I will not omit to recommend 
you to the Lord ; but I beg- you do not forget our agree 
ment. 

About the middle of July we may see each other at 
Naples. I have destroyed the letter. Live Jesus, Mary, 
and Joseph ! 

I have read with great joy what you tell me about the 
four novices. 

Do me the favor of sending the enclosed letter to one 
of your Fathers at Palermo. 

Believe me, dear Father, 

Your very devoted and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



1758.] Letter 304. 507 



LETTER 304. 

To the Fathers and Students of the Congregation. 

(This letter was written in the name of the saint by Father Fabrizio 

Cimino.) 

The Propaganda had requested missionaries for Asia ; an 
appeal is made to the zeal of the subjects of the Institute. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I 

NOCERA, July 18, 1758. 

My dear Fathers and Fratres in Jesus Christ: I have 
been requested by our Father to communicate to you the 
news that he has been asked to send young men to the 
foreign missions of Asia. There various people of the 
Nestorian sect have most earnestly asked to be instructed in 
Catholic dogmas in order to be united with the Roman 
Church in which the grace of our Lord makes us know that 
eternal salvation is to be found. 

Behold there is opened to us a vast field in which the 
harvest is quite ready and is waiting to be gathered in by 
workmen animated with zeal. Look at those unfortunate 
nations who bathed in tears raise a suppliant voice to 
heaven, and conjure the Lord to send you to them. They 
extend their arms towards you and beg you to come to 
withdraw them from the fatal ignorance in which they have 
lived for more than thirteen hundred years. Unfortunate 
people ! they do not wish to resort to those that have 
hitherto guided them in the ways of error, and they 
address themselves to you whom they regard as the true 
dispensers of divine wisdom. In their extreme poverty, 
they ask for nothing else but to be returned to the bosom 
of the Church. It is you whom they supplicate; you, I 
say, that show yourselves so generous towards your fellow- 
countrymen ; it is you whom they conjure not to value their 
souls less than those of our own country. They have had 



508 General Correspondence. LPART i. 

the same Creator, they were formed of the same substance, 
and have as much right as we have to the blood of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. One may even say that there is a 
species of justice that should urge us to carry the light 
of truth into the country whence we have received it. 

If the journey frightens you, they promise to recompense 
you by a most affectionate reception ; if the inconveniences 
make you shudder, they assure you of a rich harvest. 
If the fatigue that you would have to endure causes you to 
fear, you should be encouraged by the eternal reward that 
awaits you. And what reason could we have of not coming 
to their assistance ? 

My Fathers and Brothers, I am certain that several will 
express to me their desire not to lose the crown that the 
Lord deigns to present them with his divine hands, a 
crown with which I wish to see that the forehead of each 
one may be adorned in the heavenly country. 

In conclusion I recommend myself to your prayers, and 
while humbly kissing your hands I sign myself 

Your servant and Brother in Jesus Christ, 
FABRIZIO CIMINO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

LETTER 305. 

To Father Pietro Paolo Blasucci, Prefect of the Students at 

Ciorani. 

He answers the students and gives them important advice. 

(Read this letter to all the young men.) 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, July 27, 1758. 

My dear Brethren: The petitions that you have sent me 
have afforded me great joy; be assured that I say this 
sincerely. I should be most desirous to see several of our 
young men go among the heathen to give their lives for 



i 75 8.] Letter 305. 509 

Jesus Christ; but I must first be certain of the spirit and the 
perseverance of each one. I therefore beg you to apply 
yourselves for the present to your studies ; for you cannot 
set out without having finished your studies and having 
undergone an examination at Rome. You should, above 
all, become closely united to Jesus Christ. He that goes 
among the heathen without having provided himself with 
the love for Jesus Christ and with the desire to suffer, runs 
great risk of losing the faith and his own soul. 

Those that persevere in these dispositions will do well to 
renew their request from time to time, say, every nine or 
ten months. In the mean time become closely attached to 
Jesus Christ, and pray to him every day that he may make 
you worthy of so great a grace. 

Pay attention, my dear Brethren: Leo rugiens circuit, 
qu&rens quern devoret. [The devil as a roaring lion walketh 
about, seeking whom he may devour. / Peter, v. 8.] You 
see that Frater [Maturazzo] l is already out of the Con 
gregation. In a short time God has driven away two that a 
short time ago were among you. Be on your guard against 
faults ; for the devil acts in the following manner : At first 
he lets us commit faults, and then he causes us to lose our 
vocation. Be convinced that God wishes to have in the 
Congregation only those that have a true desire to sanctify 
themselves; as for the imperfect, sooner or later he will find 
means of expelling them. 

I therefore beg each one of you to ask every day 
especially for the grace of perseverance in your vocation ; by 
neglecting this many have lost their vocation. Let us 
always tremble and pray; he that does not tremble and 
does not continually pray cannot persevere. 

1 Gaetano Maturazzo had made profession August 31, 1746. The 
loss of vocation was for him the greatest misfortune ; for after 
leaving the Congregation he led a disorderly life and found his 
death in a brawl, dying without the consolations of the Church. 



510 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Let us not count upon the spiritual fervor that we may 
experience ; for if afterwards there comes over us rough and 
stormy weather, all the resolutions that we have made will 
disappear; and if God does not aid us, we are lost. Always 
sustain yourself by prayers, and ask without ceasing our 
Lord to help you to die in the Congregation. 

I love each one of you as much as I love myself or rather 
I should say, more than I love myself; yet when I see any 
one no longer loving the Congregation, I am forced in 
spite of the pain that such a duty gives me to dismiss him 
even if he were my own brother. I bless you, and I 
remain, etc. 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.~\ Please tell Fathers Pentimalli and Buonassisi to 
call on me one of these days as I wish to be informed 
of certain matters. 

After the original preserved in our house at Frosinone. 

LETTER 306. 
To Father Gaspare Caione. 

Another answer to the letters of the students. 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, AugUSt II, 1758. 

I am gladdened and am consoled by the request made to 
me of going among the unbelievers. The going among 
these unfortunate beings should always depend on obedi 
ence, since I cannot send all those that have applied to me. 
It will however be necessary that the Lord should make 
known to me who is truly called to do this work, and who 
is not 

After an old copy. 



1758.] Letter 307. 5 1 1 



LETTER 307. 
To the Novices at Iliceto. 

He urges them to render themselves worthy of one day 
going among the heathen. 

[August 1758.] 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

My dear Children : Yes, if you always manifest to me by 
proofs that you really have what is necessary in order to go 
to evangelize the heathen, there will be no difficulty in 
sending you. 

But these proofs are not seen in the contempt that we 
meet with purposely, but in the contempt which is patiently 
borne when occasions suddenly arise. The contempt vol 
untarily sought after, or when one knows that it is purposely 
given, will cause but little pain. 

And so pay attention that from this day forward no one 
should say to you: Are you one of those that wish to go to 
Japan? Every day, especially at Communion, pray to 
Jesus Christ for me, and I say this to all the novices as a 
matter of obedience. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
Your brother ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original to be found in the diocese of Sant Agata 
de Goti. 



5 1 2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 308. 

To the Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. 

He inculcates upon them the observance of various points 
of the Rule. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NoCERA, August 13, 1758. 

My dear Fathers and Brothers: I again recommend to 
all the observance of the Rule, and especially of obedience 
in regard to which I learn that many are delinquents. 

Endeavor to have always before your eyes the happy 
death of so many of our departed brethren, young men as 
well as Fathers ; and on the other hand, consider the 
unhappiness of so many still alive, who live, or rather who 
drag a weary existence outside of the Congregation ; and 
if some one among them far from deploring their condition, 
congratulates himself, he is only still more deserving of com 
passion and of tears. Let us, therefore, be on our guard, 
because a repetition of the faults of which they have made 
no account has been the cause of their ruin and has made 
them lose their vocation. This is the reason why I here 
recall several things that I have already spoken of and 
published, and that will be of service to the new-comers. 

In the first place, I will never give, and I cannot in 
conscience give a dispensation from the vows to him that 
asks it without a necessary and just cause ; but it is not the 
business of the subject to judge of this necessity and 
of this justice; for when he is under the influence of passion, 
it is not he, but his passion that will judge. Therefore, I 
renew the formal prohibition, under pain of grave sin, that 
no one leave the Congregation without my permission. 
If any one from the other houses wishes to call on me, let 
him ask permission of the local Superior; if he cannot 



1758.] Letter 308. 5 1 3 

obtain permission, let him write to me, and let him not 
leave the house without my express permission. This 
command I also give under obedience, but not under 
formal obedience ; only it should be known that he that acts 
contrary to it will be subjected to a penance. 

In case any one without a just cause asks for a dis 
pensation to leave the Congregation, I renew the order 
ah-eady given ; namely, one should first endeavor to quiet 
him who is thus agitated by temptation; and if after 
that he does not wish to be satisfied, let him be kept in 
strict seclusion for a month, with three days of fast on 
bread and water every week. Moreover, let each one 
know that if any one without just cause, through caprice or 
passion should ask a dispensation from his vows, by that 
very act he renders himself unworthy of remaining in the 
Congregation, and can be justly expelled from it even 
against his will. 

You know the case of the Brother who, having gone 
away without permission several months ago, continues to 
live at enmity with God, with a sacrilege on his soul, 
without finding any one to absolve him. His example 
should make all those tremble that still have a fear of sin. 
Again, when the temptation comes, communicate it at 
once to those who you know are able to help you. Under 
stand well, that the temptation against our vocation is for 
each one of us the most hurtful that the devil can offer, 
because of its sad consequences. Therefore, my Brethren, 
let each one of you, every day, while visiting the Blessed 
Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin, ask in a special manner 
for perseverance in your vocation. I advise each one in 
particular not to trust his own good resolutions or feelings. 
When passion comes, light is lost, and everything seems 
changed. To speak the truth, I have seen enough in 
others to make me tremble for all of you. 

All, and especially the young members, should know 
33 



514 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

that it is a grave fault to ask in case of sickness the per 
mission to go home to breathe the native air. General 
experience teaches us that when one lives in Community 
and according to regular observance, the air of one s native 
country and of the paternal home is an air that is pestilential 
to the interior spirit and to one s vocation. For this reason 
let each one know that in cases where a change of air has 
been ordered by the physicians, the Superiors, according as 
they think best, shall send him to one of the houses of the 
Congregation situated in another place, and let all hence 
forth renounce the idea of even going elsewhere, because 
experience has shown what temptations may be introduced 
by such indulgences. 

I would remind all that it is not permitted to go to the 
houses of seculars, and still less of relatives without a just 
cause and an express permission. Such is the rule, and I 
wish this rule to be observed with even more rigor than 
other rules. Only in case of the mortal illness of a father 
or a mother the Rule permits a visit. But there have been 
several who in similar cases have sent word to their dying 
parents that their presence and their care were not necessary, 
and would only serve to increase their sufferings, and that 
they would recommend them to God where they were. 
They have abstained from going, and I have been greatly 
edified by their conduct. It is certain that on such occasions 
they have rendered themselves very agreeable to God by 
the example that they have given to others, as well as by 
the mortification that they have practised. 

I recommend again to all, to Fathers, young men, and 
Brothers, obedience to any one that may be the Superior 
of a house, even to him whose functions give him for the 
moment a right to command, and were he even the least 
of the brethren of the Congregation. It is on such occasions 
that we see who is truly obedient. I am not edified so 
much by the obedience given to me, as by that shown to 



1758.] Letter 308. 5 1 5 

local Rectors, Prefects, Ministers, and other officials that 
preside over the work of which they have charge. Faults 
are committed against obedience. I trust that for the 
future, with God s help, certain things of this kind that 
give me great pain will not occur again. Obedience is the 
only thing that can preserve the Congregation, since it is 
that which inspires fervor ; but obedience, I repeat, is to be paid 
him who may hold the place of Superior, otherwise it will 
be all over with the Congregation. All other faults can be 
more easily pardoned than the faults of disobedience. 

The faults against poverty are not less serious. Hence I 
recommend to all the local Superiors, present and future, 
that when anything is given through friendship to a member 
of the Congregation, such as a snuff-box, a skull-cap, 
handkerchiefs, stockings, and such like things, they should 
not let him use them, but should it be necessary they 
should give him something else of the same kind. This 
precaution is necessary in order to maintain the spirit 
of poverty in its purity; otherwise many inconveniences 
would result therefrom, and a door would be opened to the 
destruction of poverty, and poverty is another virtue that 
preserves the spirit of the Congregation. As to the gar 
ments, habits, simars, and cloaks, when they are old and 
torn, let the Superiors be careful to have them mended as 
long as they are worth being mended. The Congregation 
is to be pitied if the subjects are ashamed to appear in 
patched garments. I hope that we may not have to deplore 
a like misfortune. 

As to what concerns myself, I again say, let all write 
freely to me without fear of importuning me or hindering 
the publication of my books. As Superior I am obliged to 
listen to the humblest Brother of the Congregation, and to 
read the letters that are addressed to me ; this I am obliged 
to do, but I am not obliged to publish books. I can only 
employ myself in this way when I have spare time in the 



5 1 6 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

evening, after having listened to all that wished to speak to 
me and after having answered all the letters that have been 
addressed to me. If any one, notwithstanding, abstains 
from speaking or writing to me concerning his own welfare 
or the welfare of the Congregation I make this a case 
of conscience, and will ask an account of it from him on the 
day of judgment. I protest with regard to this that if I 
were actually on my death-bed, I should have nothing to 
reproach myself on this score. When it happens that any 
one writes to me or comes to speak to me on things that 
are of interest to himself or the Congregation, I lay aside 
everything. I do not write with my own hand, because 
ever since my late illness the weakness of my head hinders 
me from writing ; and when a religious wishes his name to 
remain secret I so manage that it is not known even to him 
that writes for me ; for when it is necessary I address it 
myself; I force myself to write the whole letter at intervals 
with my own hand. 

Let every one remove from his mind the impression that 
I manifest the secrets that have been confided to me either 
orally or in writing. I am very careful what I say, and 
I tear up the letters. This fear often arises, for example, 
from the fact that when I correct any one or do anything 
that displeases a subject, the circumstances are easily com 
bined in order to conjecture who it was that has written or 
spoken to me, and at times it is rightly conjectured. Then 
the complaint is made that I reveal secrets. However, let 
no one pretend that I am obliged to keep a thing secret so 
that it may not injure him that writes or speaks to me. To 
complain that I tell others certain things that do not require 
secrecy, is ridiculous. If however any one desires that I 
should keep a thing secret that of itself requires no secrecy, 
let him tell me so expressly, and I will comply with his 
wish. 

In general, I recommend to you a few things, namely : 



1758.] Letter 308. 5 1 7 

1. Let the Mass be said with gravity; for I hear that 
many say it without observing order and decorum in the 
ceremonies, or say it too precipitately. We preach to 
others ; and then 

2. As to the Fathers that have travelling bags that may 
be locked, they should, when at home, always leave them 
open, so that the Superiors may examine them as often as 
they wish ; otherwise they may keep them locked. 

3. No one should take away the writings of another 
without the express permission of the Superior. On this 
subject I have heard many complaints on the part of some 
who have lost their writings. 

4. When a punishment is inflicted on the subjects by the 
Rector Major or other Superiors, let no one endeavor to 
find out by captious questions who gave information to the 
Superiors of any disorder or any fault by addressing those 
who he suspects have given the information ; for this would 
injure the common good, since some fearing that they 
would not be able to know how to answer when questioned, 
would abstain from telling the Superiors what they should 
tell. This especially holds good for those subjects that 
have been appointed Zelators, or those that are suspected 
of being secret inspectors. 

5. I recommend anew, that all should hand over un 
certain restitutions to the Superior of the mission, and to 
the Superior of the house when they are at home. 

6. It is also again recommended not to make known our 
affairs to strangers who through the fault of the subjects are 
better informed than we ourselves. Even disedifying 
things are communicated to them, and they afterwards 
spread them everywhere. 

7. Finally, I again remind you that when any of the 
Fathers go to preach novenas, triduos, special exercises, 
etc., or when they have to discharge any similar duty, they 
should observe the same regulations as to food as when 

33* 



518 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

they are on missions. I recommend this particularly to the 
one that is chosen Superior, because he must render an 
account, and on him the penance will be imposed. 

I embrace you all in Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 309. 
To Father Gasparo Caione, Rector at Caposele. 

He exhorts him to moderate his labors, and gives him 
advice in regard to an important matter. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Michael, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, September 24, 1758. 

I am obliged for just reasons to confirm you in your 
office of Rector for the coming three years ; but I do not 
wish you to undergo excessive fatigue as you have been 
doing. I say no more for the present. You must come 
here after we find out the result of the illness of the arch 
bishop and after you have regulated your affairs conformably 
to my instructions. We shall then speak of several things, 
and in particular of the moderation with which you should 
apply to your work; for your health cannot endure so 
great fatigue. 

We shall speak together among other things about 
Brother Matteo. In fact he or Brother Pasquale is to come 
here; but I think Brother Matteo would be preferable, 
since Brother Pasquale has of old ruined his health in this 
house. If then you could send Brother Matteo beforehand, 
it would be well. 

I expect you and Father Apice, as soon as you can set 
out. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 






1758.] Letter 310. 519 

As for the affair of Postulation? I have maturely reflected 
on it, and this is my advice. Not only would it be neces 
sary to wait for the death of the archbishop, but we should 
have to proceed in everything with great secrecy ; for if the 
proposal is not accepted the new archbishop will always feel 
incensed against us for having interested ourselves in favor 
of another. The strictest secrecy should be kept. Perhaps 
it would be better to abstain from all intervention. For 
postulations are, I think useless. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original, the property of Signer Marchese Fer- 
raioli at Rome. 

LETTER 310. 

To the Rectors, Ministers, Prefects and Superiors of the 
Missions. 

Various recommendations. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, September 30, 1758. 

1. I recommend that the Prefects of the Brothers should 
be appointed, and when one is wanting another should be 
substituted. 

2. I recommend that according to the Constitution a 
consultation should be held, in conformity with the Rule, 
as to the necessary expenses. In view of the actual poverty 
and embarrassed circumstances, when the expenses go 
beyond the sum of forty ducats, 2 I request the Superiors to 

1 It seems that in view of the death of the Archbishop of Conza, 
which occurred on October 24, the Fathers of the house at Caposele 
wished to propose for his successor a person who in his quality 
of bishop could not be elected, but had to be asked for. Hence the 
canonical term of Postulation. We add that the See of Conza was 
subject to Pontifical nomination. 

2 40 ducats= 170 francs. 



520 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

give me notice beforehand, since many useless expenses 
have been incurred in certain houses. This, however, is 
not understood in regard to the provision that is to be 
made for subsistence. If the Consultors, who have been 
appointed are not at home at the time when the consultation 
is to take place, there shall be called in those Fathers 
of the house that are the oldest in the order of their 
entrance into the Congregation. 

3. All the shirts shall bear the mark of the house, so that 
on missions there may not be any confusion on this account ; 
however, one should not be so uncharitable as to refuse the 
use of shirts to others that may stand in need of them. 

4. I recommend in general to all Superiors that they 
should avoid all blameworthy partiality. 

5. The Minister shall not give to the subjects of the 
Congregation anything to eat outside of the house, excepting 
fruit that is owned by the Congregation. 

6. I earnestly recommend that in regard to food you 
treat well the strangers that make the exercises ; for I hear 
that for some time there have been great complaints in 
regard to this matter. On account of a little expense one 
endangers the great good that the exercises produce. 

7. I recommend to the Rectors to remind their subjects 
that every month they should make a manifestation of 
conscience. They should also have bread made twice a 
week, if possible. 

( What follows should be read only to the Fathers, and 
should not be communicated to the young men?) 

To you especially, my dear Fathers, I recommend the 
practice of holy obedience, not so much towards me as 
towards the Superiors of the houses and of the missions. 
On this point I experienced last year many annoyances ; I 
do not enter into particulars, because I hope that these 
annoyances will no more be given. It appears that at 
present the Superiors must repeat an order a thousand 



1758.] Letter $1 o. 521 



times in order to be obeyed ; and even then on the part 
of some subjects there are so many excuses, so many 
objections that, finally, the Superiors are obliged in order 
not to trouble them to relieve them of obedience. I repeat, 
I do not wish for good reasons to reprove in particular any 
one of those who I know has committed faults; but I 
remember and will remember what I know. 

Hence I recommend above all to the Fathers that they 
should obey, especially on missions, any subject, whoever 
he may be, that takes the place of the Superior. We have 
at present so many young men full of talent and piety, who 
can do a great deal of good. About twenty-five of them 
have asked me to go among the heathen, and they have 
asked me so courageously and fervently that I have been 
filled with joy. But when they go out to work in the 
ministry and continually see objections, excuses and the 
unwillingness of the old Fathers to obey the Superiors, 
they will do the same thing ; and then how will the Con 
gregation get on? 

I also recommend that on missions one should not be too 
free with the people of the place. We should act towards 
them with the greatest politeness, but we should never be 
wanting in gravity, so that they may learn and preserve 
towards us the veneration that is due to men who are holy 
and without blemish ; this being necessary for their edifica 
tion. Otherwise, if we unbosom ourselves in conversing 
with them, in talking about things that do not concern the 
soul, they will discover in us a thousand defects, and will 
by no means be edified. This is a thing that has already 
been spoken of more than once ; but I regret that faults are 
always committed in this matter. If any one should not 
correct himself on this point, I shall be obliged to keep him 
away from the missions. Let no one, I beg you, meddle 
with the affairs that do not concern the conscience of the 
people that attend the mission. As to certain things that 



522 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

might cause some disorder or inconvenience, let them 
never be done without counsel and without obedience. 
Non omnia expediunt, [all things are not expedient]. 

I recommend moreover that the sermon on prayer should 
never be omitted , and in case this cannot be done, let the 
subject be treated at length in the last discourse at the 
close. 

It must be remarked, as is said in the Constitution, that 
on the missions it is not allowed to partake of dainties no 
matter in what manner they may have been received. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 311. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

Details relative to pecuniary matters and to the purchase 
of books. 

[November 1758.] 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

I have received twenty-one ducats, that is seventeen and 
a half for Tournely, twenty carlini for the other books, and 
fifteen carlini for the Novenas. 

As for the Novenas, I send twelve of them. Of these 
twelve, six are paid with the fifteen carlini, and for the six 
others, if you succeed in selling them, keep the money for 
me, for I am overwhelmed with debt. 

As for the copies of Tournely, we had already written to 
Venice for the ten copies, because there are none here ; but 
ten copies cost at least twenty-four or twenty-five ducats ; it 
will therefore be necessary that you have an understanding 
with Father Apice, because I cannot now remit even three 
carlini to pay the debt that I owe. 

I was also expecting you here to speak to you about the 
manner in which you might spend the money that has been 



1758.] Letter 3H > 523 

bequeathed; 1 but now I hear from a letter written by 
Father Ferrara that you have a debt of three hundred and 
fifty ducats. Now there is no remedy ; this money must be 
paid. The bedsteads must also be made, and the rest 
of the money will be spent on the building ; hence it is not 
necessary for you to come here about this matter, because I 
did not know anything about the debt of three hundred and 
fifty ducats. However, that the order given in the letter 
may be observed, inform me in what way you intend to 
spend the rest of the money, after having deducted that 
debt and the expenses for the bedsteads. I say only this to 
you : if even I should need to borrow fifty ducats to pay 
off a certain debt, I shall send you word; but I hope to 
remedy this in another way. 

Those copies of the Moral Theology, bound in two 
volumes, which I have sent you, are worth twenty-six 
carlini] but I shall be satisfied with twenty-five, and even 
with twenty. 

I have made a mistake: those copies of the Moral 
Theology are still here ; I will, therefore, send them to you 
on Saturday through the carriers of Teora; when they 
reach you pay the freight and I will settle with you when I 
write. 

As for the young man from Avigliano, 2 it is not necessary 
to have him come here; you may send him at once to 
Iliceto, since he has been already received. Send with him 
twenty-five ducats, and tell the Superior of Iliceto expressly 
from me that without interpretations he should immediately 
have some new clothes made for him, namely, a cassock, a 
simar and a cloak. 

1 The Archbishop of Conza, Mgr. Giuseppe Nicolai, who died 
November 8, of this year, had left a thousand ducats to our house at 
Caposele. 

2 Raffaelle Palumbo, a native of Avigliano, in the diocese of Po- 
tenza, began his novitiate December 25, 1758. 



524 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Yes, I will write to Father Margotta ; but I hear that he 
is now prevented on account of the money that has to be 
collected from Gessari for Grazioli. I shall tell him to 
hurry. I bless your Reverence and all. 

Do not forget to have copied for me the treatise on 
Sacred Scripture by Genovese, which I mentioned to you. 

I send the image of the crucifix with that of the Madonna 
for Prater de lacobis, the other pictures of the Madonna 
are for the other students. Tell this Prater that in regard 
to the other thing about which he writes to me I have 
heard nothing, and therefore I do not write specially to 
him. I have none of the little rosaries that are carried in 
the hand. 

A copy of Duplessis a I have tried to procure at Naples, 
but I have not succeeded. I would therefore wish you to 
endeavor to obtain it from the Frenchmen. 2 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.] In regard to Prater Nigro I must here add that 
I will not have him take any Orders, unless he makes an 
assignment of his property, because I do not wish the 
Congregation to be disquieted. 3 

After the original preserved in the church of St. Paul at 
Piacenza. 

1 A work of Charles Duplessis d" Argentre, Doctor of the Sor- 
bonne; he died in 1740 Bishop of Tulle. In 1702 he published, 
among other works, the Elements of Theology in Latin. 

2 The Frenchmen, that is, the Fathers of the Mission. 

3 The laws of the kingdom did not permit to those that were the 
only sons to become priests; and because D. Lorenzo Nigro was the 
only son of his family St. Alphonsus required him to renounce his 
inheritance, so that the Congregation might not be molested. It 
seems that this renouncement took place ; because in September 
1759, D. Lorenzo was ordained priest at Benevento, outside of the 
kingdom. 



I758-] Letter 312. 525 



LETTER 312. 
To the Same. 

He speaks of the utility of having critical spirits in the 
Community, of his poverty, and of some other things. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NOCERA, November 22, 1758. 

I never appointed Fr. de lacobis, I never dreamed 
of appointing him, nor do I intend to do so. But I say 
that I could have appointed him , and in case I had 
appointed him I should not have recognized you in the 
remarks that you have sent to me. l Moreover, to none 
of the subjects can it be forbidden to write to me. As to 
the visiting the rooms, I never gave permission, nor do I 
know who gave it. And the affair about the Bambino 
[Infant Jesus] has also displeased me. 

Besides, speaking in general, I must say that these 
critical spirits, as long as they do not go too far and do not 
assume an authority that they have not, are very useful to 
the Community, because they serve to keep every one on 
his guard. This is exactly the case of Father Ferrara who 
by his censures is very little loved by others, but, to speak 
the truth, he greatly assists me in maintaining regular 
observance. Now what is to be done? In Communities 
one must swallow these bitter pills, but omnia cooperantur 
in bonum [All things work together unto good Rom. viii. 
28.] 

This evening I dismissed from the Congregation Father 

1 It seems that Father Caione had complained that the saint had 
appointed Frater D. Sebastiano de lacobis as secret inspector of the 
Community at Caposele, an appointment that gave so much the 
more displeasure, since he was only twenty-two years of age, and 
was professed but one year. 



526 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Barberio 1 not on account of grave faults , but for just 
reasons. 

Let us now come to another pill. Here on account 
of the litigation that is going on with that blessed priest 
of Calvanico, we shall have to come to some agreement, so 
as to free ourselves at least from vexation ; and I fear that 
there will be no other way of obtaining money. Hence I 
beg you to lay aside for this purpose one hundred ducats. 
I do not wish to say that the house is to lose thereby, but 
assistance must be given to me, and afterwards I shall have 
you re-imbursed. 

Tell Prater [D. Giovanni] Lauria that I have received his 
letter; that I have no more to say at present; when the 
time comes we shall speak about the matter. 

Tell Prater Nigro to drive away all fear. He has made 
the vows and has been accepted. How foolish is this fear 
of being dismissed ! As regards other things let them be 
settled by the Prefect, and in default of the Prefect by your 
Reverence. 

I have written in the mean time a reprimand for Prater 
de lacobis. Indeed, my dear Gasparo, you will have to 
bear these contradictions in every Community, even if you 
were a St. Francis. How many of them have I to bear ! 
How many anonymous letters containing reproaches and 
insults ! 

Moreover, I must inform you that Don Silvestro, a 
nephew of Abate Ciceri 2 is going to the seminary, at our 
expense, and money is required. Every house shall pay 

1 Father D. Sabino Barberio, born December 23, 1712, had been 
professed only seven weeks when he was dismissed from the 
Institute. 

2 Abate Giovanni Ciceri of Grottola in the diocese of Matera had 
conceded to St. Alphonsus, November 3, 1757, the right of giving a 
name for the laic chaplaincy founded by the same Abate, with the 
obligation, as it seems, of contributing to the maintenance of one 
of his family in a seminary. 



1758.] Letter j/j. 527 

its share; at present send ten ducats. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

BROTHER ALFONSO. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 313. 
To the Same. 

Various recommendations relative to the Community at 
Caposele. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NOCERA, December 12, 1758. 

As regards the missions, your presence is more necessary 
at home than on the missions ; hence govern yourself ac 
cordingly, but under present circumstances the less you 
have to go out, the better I shall be pleased. 

As for Father [D. Ignazio] Fiore if he is not yet twenty- 
nine years of age, I cannot grant him permission to hear 
the confessions of women. But you will say why can 
others do so ? etc. But this would take too long, and so 
it is not necessary to speak of it. 

In reference to the quartan fever with which Father 
[Domenico] Caputo is afflicted, try to procure the recipe 
from Don Domenico Antonio Cappuccio; the medicine 
consists of brandy and chincona bark ; it is a great remedy 
and cured Father Landi at once ; but if I mistake not, ten 
paroxysms of fever have to be gone through. 

I have received the ten ducats. Here we are engaged in 
litigations and greatly involved. The Lord is chastising us. 

Father Fiore will likely have to return to Ciorani to teach 
the humanities; although I should wish to have him stay 
there as little as possible. And as Father Margotta says, 
it will not be improbable that your Reverence will have to 
go to give the exercises to the clergy of Cava two weeks before 



528 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

Septuagesima Sunday, the exercises to begin on Tuesday. 
I bless all. 

The Brother tailor has not yet come, and here we have 
been expecting him. 

Father Brescia s work, which Father Leo at your house 
procured for himself saying that he would procure it at the 
expense of Caposele, costs five carlini and a half; you will 
please therefore send the money. 

In regard to Frater Nigro, you have sent me no answer. 
What have you concluded to do ? I answer : if he does not 
assign his entire portion to his relatives, I cannot have him 
ordained at Benevento. He must give up all ; so that those 
interested can no longer lay claim to anything. See that this 
affair be concluded as soon as possible. 

I hear that you have procured the works of St. Bona- 
venture which will perhaps cost more than twenty ducats. 
Have patience ; henceforth when the expenses for books are 
considerable, I wish to be informed about the matter; so I 
have written to the other houses. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the Orlando family in Torre 
Annunziata. 

LETTER 314. 

To D. Giovanni Battista Gargano, a Student of the 
Congregation. 

Various points in regard to spiritual direction. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

NOCERA, December 13, 1758. 

In respect to remaining up in the evening, if I mistake 
not, I have already written to you my way of thinking 



I759-] Letter 315. 529 

about the matter, namely, it matters little that you have to 
study ; I wish you to go to bed like the rest. 

In regard to fasting, if there is question of fasting on 
bread and water, I permit it only once a week ; you may 
on another day restrict yourself to bread and soup [mi 
ne str a]. 

As for direction, it is true that the use of discipline and 
little chains belongs also to the interior, but as these are 
things that may afterwards be indirectly found out by the 
Prefect, it is also necessary to have his permission for using 
them. I bless you. 

BROTHER ALFONSO, . 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. S.~\ I cannot grant the request that you make, 
because it is against the Rule, and because it would 
establish a precedent, so that if I grant it to you, I should 
afterwards have to grant it to others. 

The Rule requires that the students should be directed 

by the Prefect It is my wish that all the students 

should submit to his direction; for I hold for certain that 
God gives the Prefect special assistance because we keep 
the Rule ; even if we feel repugnance in keeping it. God 
favors not what is agreeable to us, but what is done out 
of obedience. 

After the original in possession of Archdeacon D. Michele 
Camera, at Amalfi. 

LETTER 315. 
To an Ecclesiastic. 

He congratulates him on his promotion to a dignity. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, January 9, 1759. 

Very Reverend and Dear Sir: It was to me not a 
wonderful, not an unexpected thing, to hear from you that 
34 



530 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

the election has turned out in your favor, because I foretold 
this not less on account of the merit acquired by the 
innumerable good qualities that adorn your mind, as on 
account of the very high opinion and good will that every 
one entertained about you in this city. Hence the Canons 
have acted in accordance with your merits. 

I rejoice with you, Very Reverend Sir, and in the mean 
time hope that the Lord will assist you and help you to 
gain merits for eternity. 

Kissing your hand, I remain most respectfully, 
Your very humble and very devoted servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 316. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia. 
Various communications. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, January 9, 1759. 

Since Prater Buonopane still remembers his philosophy, 
I say yes, and it would be well to send him to Ciorani, 1 so 
that he may at least refresh his memory. Write to Father 
Blasucci to arrange the matter. 

In regard to Father [D. Alessandro] de Meo, I have 
already written to Father Caione, who holds a different 
opinion ; it is therefore necessary to have patience. Father 
Caione will have to come himself in a few days to arrange 
definitely the mission at Trani. I do not know whether the 
date can be fixed before the first day of Lent. 

I rejoice that Santorelli is doing well ; but we are forced 

1 Frater Fabio Buonopane had made his profession, December 25, 
1758, in the house at Iliceto. 



I759-] Letter 3 1 6* 531 

to send him to some monastery to find out his inclination 
while the "Writer" at Naples is creating an uproar and 
threatens to have recourse to the king. With Mgr. Volpe 
[Bishop of Nocera] who has the affair in hand we have 
been thinking of sending him to the monastery of Father 
Druisi which is under his direction at Solofra. A better 
monastery than this we cannot find. But there will certainly 
be many a struggle, 1 because others sent by relatives will 
come for the purpose of finding out things and of tempting 
him. Hence let him prepare himself, because after a short 
time, when I shall send him word, he will have to set out. 

Yes, I will send the package to Brother Francesco 
[Tartaglicne at Naples]. 

As to the stipend of the Mass of Father Maione, what 
does Father Mazzini think, since after the month of May the 
students are to come to Caposele to study Moral Theology ? 
The most that I have settled with Father Ferrara is that 
secretly one half [of the stipends] of the Masses be given to 
you and the other half to this place. 

Perhaps about Lent Don Domenico Cacciatore will come 
to you to make a short novitiate of four or five months, 
because he has again been received on account of the many 
good signs that he has manifested to me. 2 He is now on 
missions with our Fathers. I bless all. Live Jesus, Joseph, 
and Mary! 

I particularly recommend to you to send the enclosed 
letter to Monsignor d Amato in Lacedogna, and to procure 

1 Constantino Santorelli came forth victorious from all the attacks 
made upon him , and thus had the consolation of entering the 
novitiate, February 12, and to make his profession December 25, 
1759. He died at Nocera in 1787. His spirit of obedience won for 
him the title : Maximus in minimis (Very great in very small things). 

2 D. Domenico Cacciatore was one of the four students seduced 
by Father D. Giuseppe Muscari (see Letter 124). But although the 
saint had re-admitted him, he nevertheless, it is not known why, 
did not re-enter the Congregation. 



532 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

for me an answer. I wish to obtain a document from him ; 
for the people of Caposele have prepared for us a fine law 
suit on account of the thousand ducats bequeathed to us by 
the archbishop. 1 Live Jesus and Mary ! I beg you to have 
the answer delivered as soon as possible in a safe way. 

Of those books, on Death? send some to some friends at 
Foggia and at Melfi, so that they may at least examine 
them. 

I am sending more copies, now that there is an oppor 
tunity, so that you may have them sold during Lent when 
the spiritual exercises are given at the house at Iliceto. 
And when you have an opportunity, send a copy to 
Corato. 8 Live Jesus and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. 6".] I send the little books on Death, and Counsels 
\pn religious Vocation], in order that when an occasion 
offers, you may spread them through the countries of the 
Puglia ; place them therefore on your table. 

Whoever examines well this little work on Death will 
certainly purchase it. 

After the original preserved in our house at Pagani. 

1 Mgr. Niccolo d Amato, before becoming Bishop of Lacedogna, 
had been up to the year 1749, vicar of Mgr. Nicolai, Archbishop 
of Conza, and thus having been present at all the transactions 
preceding the foundation of Caposele and well instructed in regard 
to the whole question, was the only one who could help our Fathers 
and quiet our opponents. 

2 On Death, that is, the " Preparation for Death," a work published 
by the saint during the preceding year. 

3 Native city of Father Tannoia. 



I759-] Letter 317. 533 

LETTER 317. 

To Signer Pietro de Robertis, at Naples. 

He announces to him a visit and thanks him for an im 
portant service. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph ! 

NOCERA, February 23, 1759. 

Dear Sir: In compliance with your request I long ago 
charged Father Celestino [de Robertis] to inform you that 
he would go to see you at Naples immediately after the 
mission given at Bosco ; but the day before yesterday, at 
the moment when I was leaving Nola I learned that he had 
not yet paid the visit. 

I have reprimanded him for his want of regard for which 
he rendered me responsible to you, and to-day I take this 
occasion to assure you that he will call upon you the second 
week of Lent. 

I must also offer you my most sincere thanks for your 
memorial relative to our process; this will take me to 
Naples the first week of Lent, and I will not fail to 
go myself to consult you once more in regard to this 
affair. Baron Sarnelli pretends to have the wind in his 
favor and his little vessel is vigorously managed by him ; 
but I have found new reasons that militate in our favor. 
We shall examine them together, please God. 

I remain most cordially, my dear Sir, 

Your very devoted and very grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the de Robertis family, at 
Sieti, a hamlet of Giffoni (Province of Salerno). 



34* 



534 General Correspondence. [PA,T i. 

LETTER 318. 
To a Father of His Congregation. 

Recommendation of a person tormented by interior trials 
He blames him very much for entertaining an opinion con 
trary to the infallibility of the Pope. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, February 27, [1759?] 

In reference to that beautiful property, I do not wish rrty 

conscience to be charged In a word, deliver mfe 

from all scruple. 

If you are going to give the retreat at N., remember that 
there lives there a good soul, I should say, a great soul, who 
is in the habit of writing to me. It is an afflicted soul who 
thinks that she hates God, and the like things. God 
conducts her by the way of the cross. Encourage her; 
if you think fit, do not allow her to be present at soul- 
stirring sermons. Persuade her, above all, not to omit the 
daily Communion that I have allowed her. 

I love to think that you are not a disciple of Arnauld, as 
you are, I am told, already of Giovenino, who refuses to be 
lieve in the infallibility of the Pope, nisi consensus Ecclesia 
accedat [unless with the consent of the Church]; this, I 
confess has scandalized me. The French are known to do 
such a thing; but it is too much to hear that an Italian 
priest holds the definitions of the Pope to be fallible while 
Bellarmine, Bannez, and Suarez regard our opinion as 
almost an article of faith, Bellarmine saying that the con 
trary opinion videtur omnino erronea et h&resi proximal 
[seems to be altogether erroneous and next to heresy !] 

You see then what it is to be a probabiliorist : it is to hold 
as more probable opinions that are near heresy ! 

Enough of this. If you wish to hold this opinion, I beg 
you not to tell any one that you hold it, otherwise some 



1759,3 Letter 319. 535 

yoyng man resting on your authority may also hold it to be 
probable. 

I salute and embrace you all. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 
and Teresa! 

After the Roman edition. 

LETTER 319. 
To Father Gasparo Caione. 

He asks his aid in order to oblige a bishop. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, March 19, [1759?] 

Mgr. di Melfi has written to me, begging me most 
Earnestly to send a Father to give the spiritual exercises to 
those whom he is to ordain on Holy Saturday. 

I have written to him that this will be impossible, though 
I would write for a Father. I also write to your Reverence 
to ask whether you can give a Father of your house ; but I 
write to you only for the purpose of saying that I have 
written. 

See whether you can send Father Agostino. I should 
not like to displease the bishop, as he has written to me 
three times. Perhaps Father Strina would do better. 

O God ! what perplexity and what confusion during this 
year, and how many requests and how many are displeased ! 
Live Jesus and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



536 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 320. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia, Rector of the House at Iliceto 
and Master of Novices. 

He speaks of the date to be fixed for an important mission. 
(Read at the end.} 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NOCERA, April 12, 1759. 

These large missions about which we should confer 
oftener, should first be applied for and should have the 
time fixed, not once, but several times. 

Yes, the first mission applied for the past winter was the 
mission at Ariano ; but I answered that there was question 
of giving it at Easter, and I also said that if this mission 
could not be helped along in regard to the expenses, it 
could not be given. 

Afterwards I had no other application, and not even a 
letter from the bishop; hence I thought that the mission 
would not be given, and I appointed other missions. Now 
all at once I hear that the mission is being given, and that 
the time fixed is immediately after Easter. 

Now I cannot send you any help, because two other 
missions have been promised, and especially the mission at 
Mercato S. Severino, which is to be a large mission. At 
the most, I shall be able to send you help if the mission 
of Ariano begins on Saturday, not on the 2ist, but on the 
28th of this month. 

Let this arrangement be made: You will begin the 
mission on the 28th, and during the mission of Ariano I 
will send you help. 

If then you should think of beginning the mission after 
the said time, you will have again to inform me, so that I 
may arrange the matter. In the mean time you may finish 
one or two little missions so as not to lose time. 



I759-] Letter 320. 537 

When the mission has begun at Ariano it will be well to 
begin, two or three days afterwards, the exercises for the 
nuns, as there are no more than two monasteries. 

Let me know what Father Fiocchi has done in regard to 
Maffei, whether any agreement has been made. 1 

We are again in conflict with Baron Sarnelli. 2 In regard 
to the other affairs, Father Ferrara will write to you. 

I bless you all. 

In fifteen days you may send for the other books which I 
have promised on account of the clothing that was furnished. 
But let me know how many books you have received on 
my account. 

After the mission Father Garzilli will go to Caposele, and 
Father Nittoli to Iliceto. 

I bless you. 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

\_P. S.~\ Having reflected more carefully on the matter, 
I think that in order not to lose the time that is to elapse 
before the 28th of this month it would be better for you to begin 
the mission, as you have written, on the 2ist, Holy 
Saturday, because I will begin here a little mission on the 
Tuesday after Easter, so that when the latter is finished the 
Fathers may go to Ariano. 

It is understood that I will send you among other 
Fathers [Stefano] Liguori and Father [Carlo] Gaiano, so 
that they may assist you in giving the exercises to the nuns 
or the priests. But you will have to wait for them, since 

1 Francesco Antonio Maffei a man of very great influence at 
Iliceto began thenceforth to molest our Congregation. 

2 Baron Sarnelli, after having, December 7, made an agreement 
(of which mention is made in Letter 266) by which the donation 
given by his brother was ratified, and after having given up every 
claim, began again to molest the Congregation by creating new 
law-suits and by annoying the Institute during many years. 



538 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

they will not be able to join you before the Tuesday or 
Wednesday after the Sunday after Easter; this will be on 
the 24th or 25th. 

After the original preserved in the archives of our house at 
Pagani. 



LETTER 321. 

To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce, in the Monastery at 
Camigliano. 

Reasons for which the foundation at Villa degli Schiavi 
cannot be resumed. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NOCERA, May 25, 1759, 

I have received your letter and the letter of the Princess 
of Colombrano. This lady, I see, would be most anxious 
to see us return to Villa, and I know that she is very pious. 

But the affair is very difficult ; since, in the first place, 
Villa has not a sufficient income for the support of a 
Community like ours, which counts no fewer than twelve 
priests, as we do not accept small convents. 

In the beginning, it is true, we accepted this foundation ; 
but the Congregation is at present in a different state, as it 
possesses already four houses. 

Moreover, the greatest difficulty at present is to obtain 
the royal approbation. From all sides many foundations 
are asked of us, but God knows which of them will be 
accepted. 

I should myself most willingly comply with the desire 
of the prince or rather as I have now left Naples and I 
am not well, I would have one of my companions to take 
my place, but at present it will not be possible. 



I759-] Letter 322. 539 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ. Live Jesus, Mary, 
Joseph, and Teresa! 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 322. 
To Father Celestino de Robertis, at Salerno. 

He asks him to go to the mission at Agerola. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NOCERA, May 29, 1759. 

The Fathers at Agerola have written to me that they do 
not know what to do, because through a mistake they find 
that they are now engaged in giving a large mission. Hence 
you need not now go to Perdifumo, but go to Amalfi and 
thence to Agerola. 

If the sea happens to be too stormy so that it will not be 
possible for you to travel by sea, come here, because you 
may go overland through Gragnano; but I hope that the 
sea will be navigable as far as Amalfi ; yet according to my 
opinion, this Tuesday evening, it will not be possible to 
pass over the gulf as far as Perdifumo. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original, the property of Canon Nicola Camera, 
at Amalfi. 



54 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 323. 
To Sister Carlotta Fraggianni, in the Monastery at Sarno. 

He accedes to her request. 
Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

NOCERA, June 9, 1759. 

When Father Celestino [de Robertis] returns I will send 
him to you, but only for three days. Live Jesus and 
Mary! 

I recommend myself to your prayers and I remain 
Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 324. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia. 

i 
Earnest request for prayers. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, June 14, 1759. 

I am glad that the statement of the Brother is not true. 

I am sorry that you are so unwell. Probably Father 
Ferrara with Father Corsano will arrive at your place to 
drink the waters of Monticchio. 

Let the novices pray in a special manner to my intention 
for three evenings. One annoyance after another together 
with law-suits against the Congregation are coming upon 
us, and particularly do I fear that a great trial will befall us 
if God does not come to our assistance. And with [Baron 
Nicola] Sarnelli our troubles have begun. 

Father Fiocchi remains here at Ciorani, but I will not fail 



1759- ] Letter 325. 541 

to send him to Iliceto to talk to you in order to have an 
understanding with Maffei. Live Jesus and Mary ! 
Believe me, dear Father, 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of our house at 
Pagani. 

LETTER 325. 

To Canon Giuseppe Sparano, at Naples. 

He declares himself ready to grant the requests of the 
Archbishop of Naples. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, September 7, 1759. 

Since his Eminence [Cardinal Sersale] and your Rever 
ence wish me to give some occupation to the young man 
Don Giuseppe, I have thought of keeping him here with 
me in this house at Nocera, since the young men that have 
finished scholastic philosophy are just now going through the 
course of Moral Theology. 

I shall however send him to the house at Ciorani when 
the exercises are given there; and then I shall have him 
return to this place. 

I have also received the order of his Eminence to give 
the exercises to the Pellegrini , J I hope that I will be able 
to do so ; but we must ask God to give me the necessary 
help during that time, since as soon as winter sets in my 
troubles in the chest begin, and for this reason my stay at 
Naples will weigh heavily upon me at such a time, and the 
time of Lent may perhaps be more injurious to me. 

However, I cannot oppose the wish of his Eminence and 
the honor that the gentlemen of the Congregation wish to 
confer upon me. 

1 That is, the Congregation or Confraternity of Pilgrims which 
had for its object to give lodging to pilgrims. 



54 2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

As for the book, 1 we have arranged everything. It will 
be necessary for me to have certain pages re-printed ; but 
we must have patience ! Enough ; I did not wish to yield 
at all, as the revisor desired me to do, and I did not insert 
a word that could redound to the injury of the Church. 
Humbly kissing your hand, I remain, 

Your very humble, devoted, and grateful servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 326. 
To Mgr. Isidore Sanchez de Luna, 2 Archbishop of Salerno. 

Request for faculties for all the missionaries of the Con 
gregation. 

[November 3, 1759.] 

Most Reverend and Dear Sir: Don Alfonso de Liguori, 
Rector Major of the Congregation of missionaries of the Most 
Holy Redeemer, suppliantly exposes to you that in view 
of the occupation of the priests of his Congregation who are 
always engaged now in the holy missions, now in every 
kind of exercises of piety during the whole course of the 
year, he obtained from your predecessor Mgr. Rossi of happy 
memory the general communication of all his faculties as to 
the administration of the sacrament of penance and the 
preaching of the divine word, without any limitation, not 
even oi cases that require special mention, and without 

1 There is question here, piobably, of the little work entitled : 
" Dissertatio de justa prohibitione et abolitione librorum nocure lectio- 
nis." (Dissertation on the Just Prohibition and Abolition of Bad Books.) 

2 Mgr. Isidore Sanchez de Luna Benedictine of Monte Cassino, 
born at Naples, November 16, 1705; was first bishop of Ariano 
from May 6, 1748 to April 22, 1754, then archbishop of Taranto 
from April 22, 1754 till May 28, 1759, an d finally Archbishop of 
Salerno from May 28, 1759 till the year 1783. 



1759] Letter 326. 543 

exception, not even of nuns, through the whole diocese 
of Salerno, together with the power of communicating these 
faculties to the subjects of his Congregation according to 
the dictates of prudence, in imitation of his predecessors 
since the time of Mgr. Capua of illustrious memory. In 
asking for these faculties the petitioner also takes into 
consideration that as the subjects of said Congregation are 
distributed among many houses, and by order of the 
Rector Major have frequently to pass from one house to the 
other, and as frequently the subjects of the different houses 
have to unite as is required on the occasions of missions, 
of retreats, and other exercises, which are ordinarily given 
by said Congregation, it would be impossible to accomplish 
all these works if they would always have to return to make 
requests for new faculties to be presented now by this one, 
now by that one. 

The petitioner therefore asks your Grace for the com 
munication of these the above-mentioned faculties, granting 
them in the aforesaid manner as is done by all the prelates 
in whose dioceses the Congregation labors, just as it has and 
always will be ready to serve your Grace in your diocese 
of Salerno and to obey your every command. 

To the petition the archbishop thus answered : 

Mindful of the well-known virtues, the exemplary conduct, 
the learning, discretion, and great prudence of the petitioner, 
we grant to the same, on the occasions of holy missions and 
exercises which he may give in our whole diocese , the 
power, whenever it may seem suitable to him, to communicate 
our faculties of reserved cases to any of his subjects to whom 
he may see fit to give them ; these faculties being granted as 
long as it seems good to us. 

SALERNO, from our archiepiscopal palace, November 3, 

1759- 

ISIDORO, Archbishop of Salerno. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



544 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 327. 
To Sister Maria Giovanna Sparano. 

He marks out for her a practical rule of conduct in regard 
to a particular case. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, November 26, 1759. 

I answer your letter. I would do so in a more precise 
manner, but in order to do so I should have to put some 
questions to you. I therefore answer you in a general 
manner, according to the rules applicable to every one, and 
I say that neither temptations nor bad inclinations are sins, 
but the consent averted to and desired is a sin. 

Every time that you have not consented to a bad thought 
in a grave matter, even though you should have some 
inclination or pleasure to speak, you have not committed a 
mortal sin. It is true, you must avoid speaking through a 
natural inclination. In this kind of interviews you should 
direct your intention only to God and to your spiritual 
profit. While thus engaged in this conversation with a 
right intention it might happen to you while speaking that 
you feel a certain natural complacency. As long as you do 
not give consent in matters that are grave, you may be 
certain that you do not sin mortally; you are not even 
obliged to confess the circumstance. At all events it will be 
sufficient for you to say : / accuse -myself of all the bad 
complacencies in matters not grave, without saying with 
whom ; and in doubt whether your consent was deliberate, 
you need not confess it. 

Do not therefore confess any more the past doubts 
which you mentioned to me, if you have not given consent, 
and a certain consent, in the matter of mortal sin. 

But tremble, for I fear that this is the last appeal 
that God makes to you. Then when you see any natural 



1759] Letter 327. 545 

inclination, use all possible circumspection in order to avoid 
every attachment. You are on "the cutting-edge of the 
knife:" either a saint, or in hell! But God wishes you to 
be a saint. Flee then with all your strength from natural 
attachments, and pray without ceasing while saying : Mercy, 
O Lord! Do not allow me ever to abandon Thee. To 
Thee only do I wish to give my heart, and to give it 
entirely. 

If God gives you consolations in your prayer, be thankful 
to him ; but do not seek these consolations. You will have 
to pass through many great trials; this is at least my 
opinion. In prayer you should repeat again and again the 
words: Mercy, O Lord! mercy, O Lord! Have also 
recourse to the Madonna. Go to Communion often, and 
as often as possible, for you need strength. Never omit to 
make a two hours meditation, even though you should feel 
therein the agonies of death. 

Father Mazzini is not here. He is giving a mission and 
will return, December 8. 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ, and take courage. 
That you are in the grace of God; I have a firm belief; 
and I am morally convinced that in the case of which you 
speak, you have not committed any mortal sin; if you had 
committed a mortal sin, you would be certain of having 
done so. I believe, on the contrary, that God will give 
you the grace to fear mortal sin, and that he will give you 
the desire to love him. Therefore, take courage. 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 



35 



546 General Correspondence. [PART i. 



LETTER 328. 

To Father Pasquale de Matteis,! of the Society of Jesus at 
Naples. 

Grief of the saint on learning the trials of the Society. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NoCERA, December 3, 1759. 

Very Reverend and Dear Father: I received the in 
formation that you have sent me about the book, and I 
thank you for it. 

In regard to the news from Portugal, 2 I have always felt 
great sorrow on account of what has happened ; all those to 
whom I have spoken were also greatly distressed. There 
were some that appeared to be glad ; on the other hand, 
when I heard the fatal news I felt as if it concerned my own 
Congregation. I have been at least consoled to hear from 
your Reverence of the great constancy exhibited by those 
that are not professed ; this is a sign that the spirit of God 
reigns in the Society. 

I am, however, in hopes that the Lord is to derive from 

1 Father Pasquale de Matteis, born in the city of Lecce, April 4, 
1705, entered the Society of Jesus, May 18, 1720, and always lived 
in it with much fervor of spirit. As he was always held in great 
esteem on account of his learning and virtues, the most honorable 
offices were intrusted to him. He was professor of rhetoric, of 
philosophy, of Greek, of Moral Theology, Rector of Massimo 
College for fourteen years, Provincial, and finally, Superior of the 
house at Naples. He also published some ascetical works which 
were highly prized. The famous Minister Bernardo Tanucci made 
him some flattering promises to induce him to leave the Society, but 
he refused every offer and took with his companions the road into 
exile. He died a holy death at Rome, February 20, 1779. 

2 In the month of September of this year the Jesuits had been 
expelled from Portugal, through the machinations of the execrable 
Marquis of Pombal. 



I759-] Letter 328. 547 

this storm something great that will redound to his glory 
and to the welfare of the Society. I know, moreover, that 
the Pope and many Cardinals who are around the Pope are 
greatly in favor of the Society. 

I send you two copies of my little book about for 
bidden books j 1 one of them you may keep, and the other 
you may put on the shelf of your library. 

I am now engaged in a larger work which is divided into 
three parts, in which I treat at length of the exercises and 
instructions for priests. 2 It is a work that has cost me much 
labor. 

Next Lent I am to go to Naples to give the exercises to 
two Congregations, and then I shall kiss your hand and 
speak to you about many things. In the mean time, rec- 
mend me in your holy Mass, and believe me, dear Father, 

Your very humble and devoted servant, 
ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After an old copy. 

1 The work entitled: " Dissertatio de justa prohibitione et abo- 
litione librorum nocuos lectionis." 

2 This work was published in 1760 under the title: " Selva di 
materie predicabili et istruttive per dar gli esercizi ai preti, ed 
anche per uso di lezione privata a proprio profitto." (Selva, or 
Collection of Material for Sermons and Instructions for Ecclesiasti 
cal Retreats, and also for Private Spiritual Reading.) 



548 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

LETTER 329. 
To Father Antonio Tannoia, at Iliceto. 

He consents to the profession of several novices. Various 
counsels. 

Live Jesus, Joseph, and Mary ! 

PAGANI, December 6, [1759.] 

Yes, Fratres Palumbo, Santorelli, and Mazzarelli 1 may 
make their vows. 

The young man from Bosco should be sent to Caposele 
to see whether the climate will afford him some relief. 

The doctor s brother gives very bad example; let him 
know that he will be sent away. 

As for Father [Mauro] Murante, fiat voluntas tua! [May 
thy will be done!] See whether it is necessary that he 
should have a change of climate, I feel Sorry for you on 
account of the expense, but I console myself that the Rule 
and Constitutions are pushed forward. 

I bless your Reverence and all. 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of our house at 
Pagani. 

LETTER 330. 
To the Same. 

He announces the arrival of two novices. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NoCERA, December 9, 1759. 

The priest, Canon of Montecorvino [D. Bartolomeo Cor- 
rado] will come. 

1 D. Raffaelle Palumbo, D. Constantino Santorelli and D. Epifa- 
nio Mazzarelli made afterwards their profession, December 25, into 
the hands of their Master, Father Tannoia. 



1759] Letter 33 549 

I had refused him admission on account of his want 
of constancy; then, finally, after many petitions and 
lamentations on his part, I admitted him, but on condition 
that in regard to him there would be question of a novitiate 
of two or three years, and as long as I should think fit. 

I write this that you may be informed of the matter. 
Besides, he has been here about two months, and has 
behaved very well. 

After he has passed one year with you, let me know how 
he is getting on, and then we shall see what is to be done, 
but not before a whole year has elapsed. 

Don Angelo Antonio [Grazioli] will also come. He 
made application to me to be received. I told him, and 
told him again many times, that he was welcome to remain 
in the novitiate or in another house, to come to the mission 
whenever he finished his studies ; to remain as a guest, to 
make even the vow of perseverance and of poverty to his 
confessor; but to be received as a Father with the vows 
of the Congregation, he should not think of such a thing. 
Now this is for your own information. 

See that at the beginning of Lent, that is on Thursday or 
Friday after Ash-Wednesday, Father Strina comes here for 
certain exercises that have to be given tothenunsofNocera. 
Live Jesus and Mary! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of our house at 
Pagani. 



35* 



550 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

LETTER 331. 
To Father Mauro Murante, at Iliceto. 

He forbids him to go to his family to be cured, and de 
plores his want of fervor. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, December 14, 1759. 

My dear Don Mauro : I answer briefly your long letter, 
which has been a source of very great sorrow to me, 
because I read therein not so much about the infirmity 
of your body as about the infirmity of your soul by wishing 
a change of climate, and thereby living outside of our 
houses. 

I also received a letter from your mother. She tells me 
to send you to Melfi. I answered her that this would not 
be possible, and that she should not urge the matter as I 
would never be turned away from the resolution taken in 
regard to our subjects, namely, that the sick should not 
remain outside of our houses. 

In consequence of the disorders that have arisen from 
granting a permission such as you ask, I have taken a 
resolution from which no one will be able to dissuade me. 

In the mean time, I am greatly afflicted because the 
desire of becoming well has made you lose your fervor, 1 so 
that if you were to die now, you would not die as a saint, 
as I had hoped. 

I ordered you to Iliceto because I saw that you were 
anxious to go there; besides, I had already been thinking 
that the air of this place was doing you no good. Here, 
by means of the baths, you have improved a little, and I 
hoped that afterwards you would continue to improve, 

1 In fact, Father Murante had so much lost the spirit of fervor 
that after one month he lost his vocation ; but soon afterwards he 
felt so bitter remorse that it caused his death. 



I759-] Letter 332. 551 

since your disease needs a long time in order to be 
cured. 

It is true, you end your letter by submitting yourself en 
tirely to my will ; but I see that you write in this manner 
only by way of ceremony, because you have clearly made 
known to me your wish. May God bless you, because I 
do not dare to bless you. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

I may well suppose that you had an understanding with 
your mother in regard to the letter that she wrote to me. 
May God forgive you ! To tell the truth, I was amazed. 

Believe me, your Reverence, 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original in possession of the Redemptorist 
Fathers in our house of S. Maria Maddalena in Brussels, 
Belgium. 

LETTER 332. 

To Prater Andrea Morza. 1 
He refuses to grant him certain dispensations. 

[End of the year 1759.] 
Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
My dear Prater: In these things commanded by the 
Rule I cannot give a dispensation. 

1 Andrea Morza was born at Caposele, September 17, 1739, and 
made his profession, April 20, 1758. His life was short but holy. 
He had a great desire to go among the heathen, as we see from the 
following letter written to St. Alphonsus, September 6, 1758: "My 
dear Father: The Lord in his goodness has deigned to enkindle in 
my heart the desire of laying down my life for him; and not a day 
passes that I do not wander with my thoughts among the barbarous 
nations, imagining that I am in the midst of them, bound with 
chains, shedding my blood for my Jesus. I am in great hopes that 
this moment so happy for me will come. The Lord knows how 
diligently I study; but I do so only for this end, and many times a 
day I renew the vow that I have made. My dear Father, I beg 



55 2 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

If every student wished to have his own particular con 
fessor, the Rule would be overthrown. If I gave you a 
dispensation I would not be able to refuse it to others. 

Let us do this: Ask counsel of Father Leo; but then 
continue to go to confession to the Prefect. 

Live Jesus and Mary, Joseph and Teresa ! 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 333. 
To the Same. 

Encouragement to fervor. 

[End of the year 1759.] 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

I have read your letter, and I say to you be cheerful. 
Perform the usual exercises, and it does not matter whether 
you perform them with tediousness and pain. It is suf 
ficient that you perform them, practising them as they 
come, such as the exercises of Communions, etc., and do 
not be afraid. By means of the snow in winter grain 
becomes more productive. 

you for the love of Jesus and Mary to grant me permission not to eat 
flesh-meat during the novenas of the Blessed Virgin, of St. Teresa, 
and of the Blessed Sacrament. I conclude by kissing your feet and 
asking your blessing. Your most unworthy son, Andrea Morza of 
the Most Holy Redeemer." 

As he could not set out for the missions among the heathen, 
Andrea Morza, just ordained priest, asked to go on the missions in 
Sicily. His request was granted ; but after eight months he was 
taken ill with consumption and was obliged to return home where 
he died, August 5, 1764, We have many of his letters addressed to 
his director, Father de Leo ; they justify his high reputation for 
sanctity. 



1760.] Letter 334. 553 

Do not give up the desire of becoming a saint, make 
progress, and recommend me to Jesus and Mary. I bless 
you. 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 334. 
To Mgr. Isidore Sanchez de Luna, Archbishop of Salerno. 

He asks him for faculties for reserved cases. 

[January 22, 1760.] 

Most Reverend and Dear Sir: Father D. Alfonso de 
Liguori of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer 
suppliantly exposes to your Grace that it frequently occurs 
both in regard to seculars as well as ecclesiastics in the 
spiritual exercises that are given several times a year in our 
house at Ciorani, in your diocese, that the Fathers of his 
Congregation hear the confessions of penitents guilty of sins 
to which is attached a censure in accordance with the 
reservation made by your Grace. He therefore begs you 
to deign to grant the faculty of absolving such sins in the 
manner and form as shall be pleasing to your Grace. 

Moreover, as it is frequently necessary on the occasion 
of the aforesaid holy exercises to call for Fathers living in 
other houses to assist in hearing the confessions of those in 
retreat, he asks your Grace to grant to them the faculties to 
hear confessions and to absolve from the reserved cases, in 
the same manner that they have been granted to those 
Fathers that have received the list of faculties from your Grace. 

To this petition the archbishop gave the following answer : 

Having noted what has been exposed to us, we willingly 

grant to the Most Reverend Alfonso de Liguori, Rector 

Major of the Venerable Congregation of the Most Holy 



554 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

Redeemer, all power (revocable at our will) to absolve cases 
that are reserved to us with or without censure. 

As for the Reverend Fathers, religious of the house at 
Ciorani, in our diocese, and approved by us to hear the 
confessions of persons of both sexes, we grant them the same 
powers, except however the following cases : the fourth, the 
sixth, the tenth, and the twelfth with censure. 

The same rule applies to the Father confessors of other 
houses of the said Congregation approved by their Ordina 
ries : we grant them the faculty of absolving from the same 
cases, and moreover that of hearing the confessions of persons 
of both sexes in our diocese. All being revocable at our 
will. 

SALERNO, in our archiepiscopal palace, January 22, 1760. 
ISIDORO, Archbishop of Salerno. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 

LETTER 335. 

To a Nun. 
What one must do in order to love God. 

Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 

NOCERA, January 27, 1760. 

I have just received your letter with the letter of Sister 
Mariangiola and of Sister Maria Ventura. Without asking 
me any particular question you all three ask me what you 
must do in order to love God. 

As I am very busy and have hardly time to breathe, I 
answer all three of you briefly, and in a general way. To 
love God with one s whole heart one must do two things : 
first, one must empty one s heart; then, one must fill it. 

The heart is emptied by detachment from the goods 
of this world, from relatives, from the parlor, and from 
every sensible satisfaction. The heart is filled by means 



i;6o.j Letter 336. 555 

of meditation, of Communions, and above all of prayer. 
Let us pray without ceasing : he that prays, will receive. 

I recommend to you obedience to your director. Try 
also to receive Communion as often as possible : every day, 
if your director allows you; but it is not necessary to 
confess every day. 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ ; I will on my part pray 
to him for you. Live Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Teresa ! 
Believe me, dear Sister, 

Your very humble servant, 

ALFONSO DE LIGUORI, 

of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
After an old copy. 

LETTER 336. 

To Father Antonio Tannoia. 

Zeal of the saint for the practice of obedience. 
Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NoCERA, February 22, 1760. 

I thought that your Reverence had not carefully read the 
letter in which I told you that Prater Pompilio should 
remain there, because the air of this place is injurious to 
him ; meanwhile you have sent him in haste to us. But 
if your Reverence did not read the letter, then Brother 
Domenico deserves a severe penance, for he knew it was 
my express wish that the Prater should remain there. 
When he saw the Prater departing, he should have 
informed us. Be that as it may, the orders of the Supe 
riors are to be obeyed without seeking or knowing the 
reason why. 

To tell the truth, when I saw him coming against my 
express command, I was beside myself, and said that you 
had not perhaps read my letter. But it displeased me very 
much to hear that you had read it, had understood, and 



556 General Correspondence. [PART i. 

still had done the contrary, perhaps with the approval 
of others. 

Let him [Prater Pompilio] return immediately and as 
some atonement [your Reverence] will pay the expenses 
of the journey. I give you all my blessing. 
BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

[P. SJ] Send me without delay a list of your subjects. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! I wish your Reverence to give 
me a plain detailed account of Prater Pompilio s departure, 
and to tell me which Fathers counselled you to send him 
against my orders. 

If we cast obedience to the winds > it is all over with us. 
Live Jesus and Mary ! 

After a copy. 

LETTER 337. 
To the Same. 

He reassures him on the subject of the preceding letter. 

Live Jesus and Mary ! 

NAPLES, 1 March 4, 1760. 

I have already told you that I could not believe you 
had read the letter, and had then acted contrary to my 
orders. Prater Pompilio s assertion frightened me. Now I 
am calm again. 

With regard to changing his place of abode, I beg you 
to remind me of the matter when I return to Nocera, as 
I am not in a condition to settle such things now. 

Recommend me to Jesus Christ, for here [at Naples] 

1 This letter was written from Naples, because the saint was at 
that time giving the exercises of which he had spoken in his letter 
of December 3, the preceding year. 



i76o.] Letter 33$ 557 

as well as at Minervino, I have my hands full of 
trouble. 

I bless your Reverence and all. 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of the house at 
Pagani. 

LETTER 338. 
To Father Gasparo Caione, Rector of the House at Caposele. 

He asks him to obtain information about two postulants. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, April 2, 1760. 

I answer your letter in reference to the two priests. In 
regard to. receiving them I have my doubts, since they are 
over thirty years of age, and as your Reverence writes, 
they understand only the Latin language, so that they 
would have to begin anew their studies for the purpose 
of hearing confessions and of preaching. 

However, seeing the manner in which they write, which 
appears to me quite refined, knowing them to be gentle 
men, and having heard of the mode in which they obtained 
their vocation, I will not refuse them admission. Still, I 
say this to your Reverence, privately, that I should like to 
have it made clear that in their native place they have not 
given scandal. Hence if your Reverence becomes sure 
of this, I will receive them, and they may be sent to Iliceto 
to begin their novitiate. 

If however you are not certain that they did not lead a 
scandalous life, I beg you to write to the city to a faithful 
friend or to the Vicar- General Giannini, so that he may 
secretly give you notice of the conduct of said priests, 
begging him moreover to inform you in a prudent way 



558 General Correspondence. [PARTI. 

whether he has not heard anything. I say this, because 
without knowing it we might get ourselves into some 
predicament. 

Finally, I intrust this case to your prudence so that you 
may not receive into the Congregation any one who has 
led a scandalous life. See that they bring with them to the 
novitiate twenty-five ducats, at least let them bring with 
them what they can give. 1 

I bless all. Live Jesus and Mary ! 

BROTHER ALFONSO, 

of the Most Holy Redeemer. 

After the original preserved in the archives of Father 
General at Rome. 



LETTER 339. 

To Sister Maria Giovanna Delia Croce, in the Monastery at 
Camigliano. 

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin a guarantee of a good 
death. 

Live Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ! 

NOCERA, April 30, 1760. 

Sometimes I answer you, and my answer does not reach 
you. 

As for that religious, tell her in my name not to be 
uneasy. Certainly it was God who wished to have it so. 
Had she entered she might have been a cause of temptation 
to her brother; besides, how could her entrance have 
prevent